HC Deb 20 June 1963 vol 679 c619
5. Mr. Hornby

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the normal period of time between the hearing of a case by the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the giving of a decision by the Minister.

Miss Pike

The patient is usually informed of my right hon. Friend's decision within a month of his receiving the Tribunal's advice, and often sooner; but some cases take considerably longer to decide.

Mr. Hornby

Is my hon. Friend aware that in a recent case about which I have had correspondence with her a decision was reached by the Review Tribunal in November last year and six months elapsed before any decision could be given by the Ministry? Is she also aware of the anxiety which is bound to be caused to relatives and others concerned when delay of this kind occurs? Will my hon. Friend try to ensure that rather quicker decisions are made?

Miss Pike

My hon. Friend will recognise that this was an exceptional case of very considerable difficulty, but I draw his attention to the fact that, in the year 1962–63, of 116 cases, 98 were dealt with within a month and that, of that 98, 78 took only 14 days to be dealt with.

Mr. K. Robinson

Does the Minister normally accept the advice of the Mental Health Tribunal, as this House confidently expected he would when the Mental Health Bill was under discussion?

Miss Pike

My right hon. Friend looks at every case on its merits.