HC Deb 24 February 1964 vol 690 cc5-7
9. Mr. A. Brown

asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made in the provision of residential accommodation for mentally disturbed children under 17 years of age, and in the provision of psychiatric wards for children requiring treatment for temporary emotional instability; and if he will make a statement.

47. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Health if he will list the hospitals administered under the National Health Service which provide in-patient psychiatric treatment for young people, giving the number of beds available at each.

Mr. Braine

Twenty-five in-patient units with 527 beds have been provided for mentally ill and seriously maladjusted children and adolescents. My right hon. Friend has recently advised Hospital Boards to increase this provision as soon as possible. I will circulate the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Brown

Can my hon. Friend state what the advice to the boards will cover?

Mr. Braine

It will cover short and long stay units for children and adolescents who are mentally ill or seriously maladjusted. It takes the form of setting out interim targets for the provision of in-patient accommodation based on current knowledge of needs. As I said, my right hon. Friend has advised hospital boards to increase this provision as soon as possible.

Mr. Lubbock

Did I hear correctly that there are only 527 beds in the whole country available for the in-patient treatment of young psychiatric patients? Is this not horrifying? Would the hon. Gentleman confirm that many young people are not being given the in-patient treatment which they require and are either being treated in departments which are meant for adults or having to remain at home although their behaviour may be gravely anti-social and even violent?

Mr. Braine

This is one field where gross exaggeration of the kind that the hon. Gentleman has just indulged in does not help in the slightest. In the present state of our knowledge, it is difficult to assess with accuracy the extent and character of the total needs. Ways of measuring this are being considered, but this consideration has not delayed the interim guidance to boards about minimum requirements. I will repeat for the benefit of the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend has recently advised hospital boards to increase this provision as soon as possible.

Mr. K. Robinson

The hon. Gentleman need not get so steamed up about this. Is lie not aware that one of the most seriously under-provided needs in the National Health Service is that of psychotic adolescents? Can be break down his original figures and say how many units and how many beds are devoted to adolescent psychotics?

Mr. Braine

Without notice, I could not break the figures down. I entirely agree with what the hon. Gentleman has just said, that there is a need here, as my right hon. Friend has recognised. The hon. Gentleman will know that the regional hospital boards are allocated funds and have responsibility for arranging the planning programmes in detail, and these programmes should be flexible enough to allow for the rearrangement of priorities where urgent new needs are brought to light.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a constituent of mine complained to me that his son was not being granted treatment in an in-patient department and that when I went to the Orpington Mental Health Association I was told that it was not an isolated case but was universal throughout the country because of shortage of places?

Hospital Region Unit Number of Beds
Newcastle St. Luke's Hospital, Middlesbrough 12
Leeds Fairfield Hospital, York 12
Sheffield Mapperley Hospital, Nottingham 20
Rauceby Hospital, Sleaford 12
North West Metropolitan High Wick, St. Albans 18
North East Metropolitan Whipps Cross Hospital, London, E.11 24
South East Metropolitan St. Augustine's Hospital, Canterbury 16
The Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham 35
Evelina Children's Hospital, Guy's Hospital, London, S.E.1 7
The Lady Chichester Hospital, Hove (2 units) 16
The Maudsley Hospital, London, S.E.5 26
South West Metropolitan Belmont Hospital, Sutton 12
Long Grove Hospital, Epsom 40
Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton 20
Oxford The Park Hospital, Oxford 28
Pewsey Hospital, Pewsey 36
Smith Hospital, Henley-on-Thames 46
South Western Tone Vale Hospital, Taunton 30
Welsh Gwynfa, Colwyn Bay 24
Birmingham South Warwickshire Children's Hospital, Stratford-upon-Avon 6
Manchester Booth Hall Hospital, Manchester, 9 9
Liverpool Moston Hospital, Chester 18
Wessex Leigh House, Chandler's Ford 30
St. James' Hospital, Portsmouth 30


1. In addition mentally ill children may be treated in other units for children, and mentally ill adolescents may be treated in units for adults.

2. Hospital returns do not readily show the number of beds for subnormal and severely subnormal young persons separately from beds for other age groups. At 31st December, 1961, about 9,000 subnormal and severely subnormal children were resident in hospital.