HC Deb 31 July 1961 vol 645 c905
16. Commander Kerans

asked the Minister of Health Whether he will take steps to review the Mental Health Act so as to ensure that patients discharged from mental hospitals are not a danger to society.

Mr. Powell

The Act contains provisions for this purpose.

Commander Kerans

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the loophole which was shown in the Sowle case will not be allowed to occur again? Can the public be assured that public safety is predominant in the Minister's mind under the provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1959?

Mr. Powell

There is a later Question on the Paper about the case to which my hon. and gallant Friend has referred. I am satisfied that the Mental Health Act, 1959, in its provisions takes fall account of the requirements of public safety.

Lord Balniel

While accepting that the Act contains very full provisions, will my right hon. Friend agree that public reassurance on these matters is of the greatest importance if the Mental Health Act is to be implemented rapidly?

Mr. Powell

Yes, I agree, but I have made it clear repeatedly that I regard public security as being a condition of progress in this field.

Mr. Dodds

Will the Minister make a statement when Parliament reassembles showing how many patients have been discharged without any trouble? When does he expect to make a statement about the Sowle case?

Mr. Speaker

Order. There is an appeal, I understand, in that case. We are not free to discuss it.