HC Deb 08 July 1954 vol 529 cc2334-5
37. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Health the number of mentally defective persons for whom application has been made for admission to suitable institutions in the county of Durham and for whom no accommodation is at present available.

Mr. Iain Macleod

One hundred and sixty-one.

Mr. Shinwell

Is not this a somewhat alarming figure and does not it disquiet the right hon. Gentleman? Is he aware that among these cases are several of young persons? Will he hurry up the provision of accommodation for them?

Mr. Macleod

All waiting list figures disquiet me, and it is true that these are perhaps the worst of all. We are doing what we can. Since the appointed day there have been 550 new beds provided in the region and there is a scheme in hand for a further 200 beds, so that about 750 extra beds have been provided since the appointed day. The problem still remains, but, as I say, we are doing what we can.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that mental defectives are having to be sent to prison because there is no room available for them in mental hospitals? Will he look at an answer given by his right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary today on this subject which "passes the buck" to the Minister of Health?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir, I have seen that, and I am in communication with my right hon. and learned Friend on the matter.