HC Deb 21 November 1956 vol 560 c1718
5. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Postmaster-General whether, under his regulations, a patient admitted to a mental hospital on a temporary certificate under Section 5 of the Mental Treatment Act, 1930, is entitled to retain his Post Office Savings book and operate his Post Office Savings account.

Dr. Hill

Nothing in the Post Office Savings Bank regulations prevents a patient admitted under Section 5 of the Mental Treatment Act, 1930, from retaining his book. Under Section 5 (16) of that Act, however, a person admitted to a mental hospital under Section 5 is automatically brought within the scope of Part IV of the Lunacy Act, 1890, the one dealing with management and administration of property. Post Office regulations do preclude persons covered by Part IV, of the Lunacy Act from operating their post office accounts, though withdrawals may be made by any committee of the estate or other proper person.

Mr. Robinson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how long this disability lasts, in view of the fact that the whole point of a temporary certificate is that the patient may recover volition at any time?

Dr. Hill

That is, of course, more a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, but I can say that the temporary certificate to which the hon. Gentleman refers lasts for six months. If at any time throughout that six months the patient is regarded as having recovered his volition then, in fact, the limit becomes 28 days.