HC Deb 24 July 1959 vol 609 cc1701-2

Lords Amendment: In page 33, leave out lines 32 and 33.

Mr. Walker Smith

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The effect of the Amendment is to delete the requirement that members of a local authority who may be authorised to exercise the power of discharge shall be members of the health committee of that authority. Hon. Members who took part in the Committee stage will recall that the words to be deleted were included in the Bill following the recommendation of the Royal Commission on this point. What the Commission really had in mind was that the members should be those who had an interest in and knowledge of mental health by virtue of their membership of the health committee. The Commission's basic approach was very sensible and constructive.

Since we parted with the Bill, representations have been made that it is unnecessary to make this a statutory requirement. Indeed, as part of the relaxation of Government control over local authority functions we have accepted that the statutory requirement to appoint certain committees, including health committees, should be abolished at some convenient date thus enabling local authorities to conduct their affairs through committees in the way which suits them best. It would, therefore, not be appropriate to require membership of the health committee for the purposes of the Clause.

I think that local authorities can clearly be trusted to ensure that orders for the discharge of patients are made on their behalf by appropriate members. Both the Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Council's Association support the Amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.