HC Deb 03 April 1952 vol 498 cc1885-6
8. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Health how many mentally defective children are waiting admission to homes; and if he will state the average length of time which these children have been waiting for such admission.

Mr. Crookshank

Statistics of children now awaiting admission to mental deficiency institutions will be available in a few weeks' time, and I will send my hon. Friend the information. I regret that figures are not available as to the average length of time on the waiting lists.

Mr. Shepherd

Will my right hon. Friend accept my assurance that there are many cases within my personal knowledge where the waiting time is up to four years?

Mr. Crookshank

I must admit that this is one of the most pressing and difficult problems of all those I have to study.

Mrs. E. M. Braddock

When the Minister is compiling his figures, will he give details of the length of time and the severity of the cases waiting for admission? Is he aware that there are many cases that have no right to be at home at all, that they are a danger to people in the home and a trouble to their parents, and that they have been waiting for as long as 18 months for admission to these homes?

9. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the disruption in home life caused by mentally defective children; and what steps he is taking to increase the institutional facilities.

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, Sir, and I am reviewing proposals of the regional hospital boards to increase institutional accommodation.

Mr. Shepherd

Will my right hon. Friend, if he has not had personal experience of what happens in these cases, try to obtain it so that he can appreciate to the full the distress which this kind of mental child causes in the home?

Mr. Donald Chapman

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what pressure he is putting on the regional hospital boards in this matter, because some of them do not feel that they can advance as quickly as they would like to do?

29. Mr. Wilfred Paling

asked the Minister of Health the number of mentally defective children in the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board area requiring institutional accommodation.

Mr. Crookshank

Up-to-date figures will shortly be available, and I will send the information to the right hon. Member.

Mr. Paling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is reported that there is a hold-up in regard to children in this area needing this treatment? Is he aware that a great many have been waiting for years and years, and will he do what he can to help the Hospital Board to provide the accommodation so badly needed?

Mr. Crookshank

I have already referred to that this afternoon.

Mr. W. R. Williams

In view of the number of inquiries in Questions put to the Minister this afternoon, will he realise that this is a very urgent matter—a very serious matter—because, whatever the situation in Sheffield, I am given to understand on good authority that the position in Manchester is possibly still more serious?

Mr. Crookshank

Perhaps the hon. Member was not present, but I have already said this afternoon that I view this situation with grave concern.

Mr. Williams

I was present, but I could not get in.