HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc11-2
23. Mr. Bowles

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the shortage of places for mentally defective children living in the West Midlands of England; and what steps he proposes to remedy the position.

Mr. R. Thompson

My right hon. and learned Friend is aware of the shortage, and the regional hospital board is taking steps to meet it. Since 1948 nearly 700 additional beds have been provided for mental defectives, and schemes to provide over 300 more are in hand.

Mr. Bowles

If I send to his right hon. and learned Friend particulars of a case I have in mind, will he look into it? Secondly, does it not strike the Minister of Health as a rather curious state of affairs in this country when the owners of Ascot Race Course can spend £1 million on a new grandstand and the Minister has not enough money to provide all the necessary beds?

Mr. Thompson

Nothing I can say seems to arise out of that supplementary question, except that I have shown that there has been substantial additional provision made, and more is contemplated and in hand.

Mr. Edward Evans

Is the Minister aware that this need, particularly of young children, arises in nearly all the hospital areas? Will the Minister pay special attention to the problem, owing to the terrific stress imposed on parents, especially when a child is growing up into adolescence and into adult life?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, Sir.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Were the figures given by the Parliamentary Secretary of new accommodation for the West Midlands only or for the country as a whole?

Mr. Thompson

The answer was related to the Question, which referred to the West Midlands.

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