HC Deb 27 February 1956 vol 549 cc827-8
39. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Health if he will make a report on his recent visit to mental hospitals and mental-deficiency hospitals in Lancashire.

Mr. Turton

I visited Whittingham and Calderstones and am considering their problems in the light of what I saw.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he was much more informative to the Press in Lancashire than he is in the House today? He admitted in Lancashire that he was shocked by the conditions he met there—overcrowding at Calderstones and the out-of-date nature of the building at Whittingham, where even he was shaken by the draughts which have been shaking the patients and nurses all through this cold winter. Will he please give some more specific indication of what he intends to do to improve now the conditions in this area, and will he give a guarantee that he will approve the building grant for capital expenditure at Whittingham Hospital totalling £400,000?

Mr. Turton

I have told the hon. Lady that I am considering what I saw there. Until I have concluded my consideration it would be inexpedient for me to make a further statement.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a national problem, and will he say whether he is proposing any other visits to other areas where this problem exists?

Mr. Turton

I intend as soon as I can, subject to my attendance here in Parliament, to go round the country visiting these hospitals, especially the mental hospitals. I intend to go to the Birmingham region.