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Mental Health

Volume 460: debated on Tuesday 22 May 2007

The Department collects data on occupied bed days, not on the number of individuals that that represents. In 2006-07, there were 19,988 hospital occupied bed days on adult psychiatric wards of patients aged 16 or 17, and a further 201 hospital occupied bed days on adult psychiatric wards of patients aged under 16.

I thank the Minister for that answer. What plans do the Government have to protect centres of excellence for the treatment of adolescents with severe mental health conditions, such as the one that is being closed at Cassel hospital, Richmond. I understand that it is being closed because PCTs across the country are not prepared to pay for out-of-area placements.

In providing that more specialised care, we want PCTs to consider the requirements in perhaps a wider area than the PCT area, because sometimes quite small numbers of children require that type of intensive specialist care. However, I feel that often children are sent too far away from home. Some out-of-area provision is necessary, but we want to make sure that such provision is commissioned more effectively and can deal better with the situation that affects small numbers of children. We want to make sure that they can have treatment closer to home than is sometimes the case now.

I thank the Minister for the reassurances on that very issue that she gave during Committee stage of the Mental Health Bill. What discussions will she have with the new coalition on mental health services, which supports the modernisation agenda, so that we can make the positive changes that she wants?

My hon. Friend refers, I believe, to the fact that approximately 85 per cent. of those who work in mental health services have now withdrawn from the Mental Health Alliance and are realigning themselves to make sure that some of the steps that we want to take to modernise mental health legislation can go forward. I thank him for his contributions in Committee, where we had a lot of discussions about what we want to do to improve those services and, in particular, about age-appropriate accommodation.