HC Deb 05 May 1959 vol 605 cc258-9
Mr. Walker-Smith

I beg to move, in page 9, to leave out lines 9 to 11, and insert: (3) In this Part of this Act "registration authority" in relation to a mental nursing home, means the council of the county or county borough in which the home is situated; and the power of a county council under section one hundred and ninety-four of the Public Health Act, 1936, to delegate its functions under Part VI of that Act relating to nursing homes to the council of a county district shall include power to delegate its functions under this Part of this Act relating to mental nursing homes. This is little more than a drafting Amendment. Clause 14 applies to mental nursing homes—as defined in subsection (2)—the registration provisions of Part VI of the Public Health Act, 1936, with the modifications and provisions provided for in Clauses 14 to 18, and the last three lines of subsection (2) define the registration authority, in effect, as the council having the power to register nursing homes under Part VI of the Public Health Act. That means the county or county borough, or in cases where the power has been delegated under Section 194 of the 1936 Act, the county district.

Under these provisions as they stand the result may be that where a county has already delegated its registration functions in relation to nursing homes, the new registration function relating to mental nursing homes would now automatically be delegated. The object of the Amendment is to enable those counties which have already delegated the registration of nursing homes to consider afresh, on the requisite application from the county district, whether they wish to delegate a similar function in relation to mental nursing homes. It is necessary that the application should be considered afresh in this way, because the Bill gives important new functions to the registration authority.

To take an example, under Clause 47 (3) there is power to discharge patients detained in mental nursing homes. A county district, which was perfectly competent to carry out the functions of registration in relation to ordinary nursing homes, might not necessarily have the specialist staff needed to carry out all the new functions. To take an obvious example, not all county districts which exercise delegated functions under Section 194 of the Public Health Act will be exercising delegated mental health functions under the Local Government Act, 1958, and they therefore will not all have mental welfare officers, whom they would require for this sort of work.

Amendment agreed to.