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Mental Health

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to promote the safety of mental health staff providing care and support in services outside the statutory sector. (76225)

The independent Healthcare Commission registers and inspects the private and voluntary health sector. The Commission inspects the sector against a range of national minimum standards set by the Government particularly focused on mental health establishments, including requirements covering staff training, risk assessment and management, managing disturbed behaviour, managing serious/untoward incidents, and patient restraint and physical interventions. Further details are available on the Department’s website at:

Best practice around the management of adults presenting disturbed/violent behaviour in in-patient psychiatric settings is set out in the clinical guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2004.

The National Institute for Mental Health in England will publish revised guidance on positive practice to support the safe and therapeutic management of aggression and violence in mental health in-patient settings in 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many foreign mentally-disordered individuals are held in special hospitals under mental health legislation. (77404)

None of the high security psychiatric, formerly special, hospitals collect specific information about the nationality of their patients. They all record place of birth as reported by the patient but this in itself is not an accurate method of determining nationality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total cost was of drugs prescribed on the NHS for psychiatric and mental health purposes in the last year for which figures are available; and which five categories of psycho-active prescriptions (a) were prescribed in the greatest volume and (b) cost the most in that year. (75671)

The information is not available in the requested format. Prescription cost analysis (PCA) provides details of the number of items and the net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England according to British National Formulary (BNF) therapeutic classes. Drugs that appear in BNF chapter four (central nervous system) are usually, but not exclusively, prescribed for psychiatric and mental health purposes. The most recent PCA is at

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will list the mental health hospitals which operate mixed sex wards; (69386)

(2) how many mixed sex wards operate in acute mental hospitals; and if she will make a statement.

The information is not available in the format requested.

The Department does not collect information on the number of single-sex or mixed-sex wards in use in national health service hospitals.

Between 1998 and 2005 the provision of single-sex accommodation was measured as compliance at NHS trust level with three objectives set by the Department.

The results of the most recent compliance survey (December 2004) show that:

99 per cent., of NHS trusts provided single-sex sleeping accommodation for planned admissions and had robust operational policies in place to protect patients' privacy and dignity;

99 per cent., of NHS trusts met the additional criteria set to ensure the safety of patients who are mentally ill; and

97 per cent., of NHS trusts provided properly segregated bathroom and toilet facilities for men and women.

The small number of hospitals who did not achieve these objectives are building new hospitals.

The 2004 position of each NHS trust was published on 26 May 2005 and is available on the Department's website at and in the Library.

These objectives have been superseded by the core national standards presented in standards for better health.

The core standards require that:

"Staff treat patients, their relatives and carers with dignity and respect" (CIS); and

"Health care services are provided in environments which promote effective care and optimize health outcomes by being ...Supportive of patient privacy and confidentiality" (C20b)

The Healthcare Commission will assess compliance with these standards.