HC Deb 09 May 1966 vol 728 c16
8. Dame Joan Vickers

asked the Minister of Health what arrangements are being made to increase the number of places available in homes and institutions for the mentally handicapped in the south-western area of England.

Mr. K. Robinson

I must ask the hon. Member to await my report on the hospital building programme and the second revision of the plans for the health and welfare services of local authorities, both of which will, I hope, be published within a few weeks.

Dame Joan Vickers

In view of the fact that there is likely to be some delay in this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up some holiday homes so that the mothers of these mentally handicapped children might have from four to six weeks' relief in a year?

Mr. Robinson

I will consider anything that the hon. Lady puts forward, but existing hospital beds for the mentally subnormal in the south-western region as a whole exceed the long-term requirements. I agree that distribution needs to be improved.

Mr. Dean

Now that mental science has opened up new possibilities for assisting these unfortunate people, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the fact that it is very important that this development should be followed up by additional facilities?

Mr. Robinson

Certainly. One of the things that we can do is to expand facilities in the community for these patients. That is being done at a very satisfactory rate of progress.