HC Deb 10 July 1961 vol 644 cc26-7
43. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Health if he will now make a statement on the result of his inquiries into the reclassification of Ronald Derek Sowle.

46. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Health if he will now make a statement on his investigation into the case of Ronald Derek Sowle.

Mr. Powell

The South Western Regional Hospital Board is conducting an inquiry. I must await its report.

Mr. Dodds

May I ask how long the Minister thinks it will be before the report is complete because, as he knows, there is a great deal of public interest in view of what was said by the judge?

Mr. Powell

It does not depend on me, but obviously it is desirable that the report should be available as soon as practicable.

Mr. Lipton

When the Minister receives the report of the regional board will he give an undertaking that the whole of it will be made public?

Mr. Powell

I must consider the report before I can answer that.

47. Mr. Wilkins

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the evidence given in the Sowle case, whether he is satisfied that the medical staff available to do the work of reclassification of patients required under the provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1959, is adequate to the requirements of the south-west region; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Powell

This work has been completed.

Mr. Wilkins

I wonder whether the Minister is aware of the inference of my Question? I am not so much concerned with the speed of the reclassification but whether there is an adequate staff to give sufficient time for a thorough examination of these patients to arrive at a clear decision whether they are fit to be restored to liberty in the interests of the general public.

Mr. Powell

There was a statutory requirement that this review should be completed by the end of April. I think I ought not to answer the remainder of the hon. Member's supplementary question in view of the Answer I have just given.

Mr. K. Robinson

Could it not be made clear to the House by the right hon. Gentleman that this man, far from committing the crime immediately on his release as has been suggested, had been travelling across Bristol for many weeks going to and from a rehabilitation centre by public transport and had city parole for at least a year? Does not the Minister think that these facts should be made known in this case?

Mr. Powell

I think it right that the facts should be made known as a whole as a result of the inquiry which is taking place, at any rate as far as I am concerned.