HC Deb 06 February 1947 vol 432 cc1938-9
10. Mr. J. Lewis

asked the Minister of Health how many mentally defective children in the United Kingdom are registered with local authorities for admission to mental institutions, and in respect of which there is no accommodation available at the moment.

Mr. Bevan

Information is not available as to the number of mentally defective children awaiting admission to institutions under the Mental Deficiency Acts, but on 1st January, 1946, the total number of persons of all ages awaiting admission was 3,323 in England and Wales. As regards Scotland, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Secretary of State.

Mr. Lewis

May I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind that mentally defective children require special care and supervision, which some parents are quite incapable of administering, and will he do all he possibly can to make available some form of institutions in various parts of the country to accommodate these unfortunate children?

Mr. Bevan

I entirely sympathise with the view of my hon. Friend, but he knows that we are labouring under very great difficulties. I would refer him to the Report of the Curtis Committee in this matter, in which they consider that our treatment of mentally defective children is satisfactory.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, in the meantime, these 3,000 mentally defective children are being cared for, and what steps are being taken to see that they are admitted into suitable institutions?

Mr. Bevan

If my hon. Friend will put his Question down, I will give him the information.

Mr. Awbery

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of children now in these institutions have not yet been certified?

Mr. Bevan

Yes, I know.