HC Deb 08 October 1924 vol 177 cc505-6

asked the Minister of Health how soon he proposes to carry into effect the recommendation of the Cobb Committee appointed by his Department, namely, that Section 79 of the Lunacy Act be posted up in the waiting rooms of public asylums so that friends, as distinct from relatives, of tin, patients may be made acquainted with the privilege, to which they are entitled by the Act, of making application to the visiting committee for the discharge of inmates, a privilege of which they have hitherto been kept in ignorance?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Pontypool on the 12th March, 1923, that in the opinion of the Board of Control there are serious objections to a general rule requiring that this Section should be posted up in waiting rooms. The revised rules of the Commissioners of the Board of Control, which are now awaiting statutory approval, provide that on the admission of every pauper lunatic to an institution for lunatics a notice shall be sent to all persons whose names appear as relatives or friends of the patient in the statement of particulars accompanying the reception order as to the times and conditions of visitation, and in such notice shall be embodied the substance of Section 79 of the Lunacy Act, 1890.


asked the Minister of Health if he will cause inquiry to be made with a view to ascertaining in how many instances during the year 1923 a private mental patient who had not been seen by a magistrate was, in the absence of any prejudicial certificate, deprived of the subsequent notice of right of appeal to a magistrate through the negligence of the managers of the institution in which he was received; in how many instances has the penalty for this negligence, as prescribed by the Lunacy Act, been enforced; and will he take immediate steps to secure the invalidation of all illegal certification effected in contravention of the Statute and founded on medical evidence alone in the absence of any judicial investigation or provision for appeal?


I am not aware of any such cases, but if the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of any instances which are within his knowledge inquiry shall be mails in regard to them.


asked the Minister of Health in how many instances during the last 10 years has the statutory penalty been enforced against the managers of any lunacy institution for detention of a sane patient or of one who has recovered his sanity.


I am not aware of any such instances.

41. Lieut. - Commander FLETCHER

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the existing grants to boards of guardians at 4s. per head for maintenance of pauper lunatics is totally inadequate; and if he proposes to introduce legislation to remedy this state of affairs?


I cannot undertake to introduce legislation for the alteration of this grant at the present time.