To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many severely handicapped children are currently placed in long-stay National Health Service hospitals.
[holding answer 5 November 1987]: At 31 December 1986 there were 392 children under 16 years resident in mental handicap hospitals and units in England. A number of these children were receiving short-term respite care or assessment. In addition, 350 mentally handicapped children were resident in small National Health Service units in the community. It is estimated that about 400 of these 742 individuals will have been resident over a year. No information is available centrally on the severity of their handicap.Information is not available about the numbers of physically disabled children in hospital; there would be difficulties in defining this group for the purpose of collecting data.