HC Deb 17 March 1890 vol 342 cc997-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has observed at pp. 106–7 of the Lunacy Commissioners' last Report, that the number of single private patients registered in their office on 1st January 1889, is stated to be 442; can he say if this includes all the single patients known to the Commissioners; and do the Commissioners take any special steps to discover the existence of unlicensed houses in which one or more persons alleged to be mentally affected are detained; and, if not, will he consider the advisability of issuing some instructions on the subject?


I am informed by the Lunacy Commissioners that the number of single patients mentioned in the Report for 1889 included all the single patients at that date known to the Commissioners. The Commissioners have no power to visit a house suspected of containing a lunatic in illegal charge—i.e., of whom charge is taken for payment. When they receive information which leads them to suppose that a person is being detained as a lunatic illegally, they cause inquiry to be made through the police, by means of an Order to visit issued by the Lord Chancellor or otherwise, and if evidence can be obtained establishing an infringement of the law they prosecute the offender. The Commissioners have also published in the medical and other journals-cautions against breaches of the Lunacy Laws.

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