HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc4-5
8 and 9. Mr. Hilton

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he will now state the approximate date by which he expects to receive the finalised report of the survey into the problems involved in the rehabilitation of crude spirit drinkers;

(2) if, in view of the resolution on crude spirit drinkers by the Council of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, details of which have been sent to him, he will now consider using national resources to help solve the social problems arising in the East End of London, due to the concentration of vagrant crude spirit drinkers within the area.

Mr. K. Robinson

I have recently received advice on the organisation of facilities for the treatment of alcoholism, but it recognises that medical treatment offers little prospect of success unless voluntarily accepted. Such treatment is available for persons living in Tower Hamlets.

Mr. Hilton

I cannot understand what the Minister is referring to when he speaks of such treatment being available in my borough, unless he is referring to members of the Simon community which is a voluntary but ineffectual body. Is he aware what delay in this matter means in my constituency? Is he aware that a near-violent confrontation took place between tenants and members of this community a short time ago? Does he not realise that if Government agencies do not do something in this matter, vigilante action by the people themselves is a possibility for which he will have to bear responsibility?

Mr. Robinson

On the question of treatment, facilities are available at St. Clements Hospital where there is a five-bed unit for alcoholics. I have deliberately limited my reply to the area of my own responsibility, which is that of treatment. My hon. Friend will recall that there was a petition from Tower Hamlets on the more general problem which was received last July by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office.

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