HC Deb 15 April 1958 vol 586 cc23-4
39. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many mentally defective patients there are detained in Scotland under his authority; where they are; and what steps are being taken by him to ensure that the condition of each is periodically reviewed with a view to release.

Mr. Maclay

Mentally defective patients are not detained under my authority, but on the initiative of the parents or of the local authority with the parents' consent, or by order of the Sheriff. At the end of 1957, there were 5,649 patients on the registers of mental deficiency institutions and 2,551 patients under guardianship. The General Board of Control are required by statute to review the need for detention at prescribed intervals.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Secretary of State realise that this is a very important and far-reaching matter, and that many of these people who are detained believe, with their relatives, that they are fit for freedom? Will he take steps to ensure that they are properly examined so that they can obtain their freedom if they are fit for it?

Mr. Maclay

There are the most careful provisions for watching to ensure that anybody who should be released is released. I should be very glad to tell the hon. and learned Member more about this either in a letter or if he cares to see me.