HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 c923
37. Mr. Ritson

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the statements contained in the recent White Paper on a National Health Service with regard to the Mental Health Service, what steps he is taking to deal with the reform of the laws having reference to those of unsound mind; and whether he is undertaking, or proposes shortly to undertake, a survey of the existing and potential mental health services on lines similar to that carried out in the case of the general hospitals.

Mr. Willink

It would not be feasible to undertake a full restatement of the law of lunacy before the introduction of the National Health Service. At this stage, therefore, it is proposed only to make such amendments as are needed to enable the administration of the mental health services to be included in the one comprehensive service, and these will be discussed with the local authorities and others concerned. No general survey of the mental health services is contemplated, but a special survey of certain important aspects—with particular regard to the provision for neurosis—is in progress.

Mr. Ritson

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman not feel that the Act of 1930 lags behind the needs of the times?

Mr. Willink

I think my hon. Friend will find it admitted in the White Paper, that the law requires re-stating. On the other hand, the Government have in hand a very great amount of legislation, and I am of opinion that the proper way to deal with this matter is in the manner indicated in my answer.