HC Deb 26 June 1967 vol 749 cc76-7
32. Mr. Deedes

asked the Minister of Health what consultations he has had with the London teaching hospitals about future arrangements for treating drug addiction in London; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. K. Robinson

General principles of treatment of heroin addiction were considered at two medical conferences of the consultant psychiatrists concerned. Separate discussions took place with each hospital individually. Informal discussions on points of practical application will continue with a group representative of interested London hospital boards.

Mr. Deedes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at least one London teaching hospital has expressed grave misgivings about certain aspects of this scheme and doubt as to whether it will work? Is he sure that he is proceeding on the right lines?

Mr. Robinson

I should be interested to have further details of what the right hon. Gentleman has said. As far as I am aware, there is no general dissent among those primarily concerned with this matter about the way we are proceeding. Out-patient facilities are now available at nine hospitals in central London and other clinics will be opened in due course. About 30 hospitals in the London area already provide facilities for in-patient treatment of addicts of all types.

Mr. Braine

Will the right hon. Gentleman be more precise about it? When the Dangerous Drugs Bill was going through the House, we warned him that it was likely to be unworkable. Is he now saying that the hospitals have not told him that his scheme presents difficulties at present? In view of the continued delay in setting up adequate treatment centres, will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will make a statement on the matter before we rise for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Robinson

There is no suggestion that the hospital authorities have told me that the system is unworkable. There are difficulties, of course. We always knew that there would be difficulties, and there has never been any denial from this Box that there are difficulties. But I have no evidence at present that the scheme is not progressing satisfactorily. I have already said that there are about 30 hospitals in the London area providing treatment at this moment.

Mr. Braine

Will the Minister answer the last part of my question? In view of the continued delay in setting up really adequate treatment facilities in London, will he make a statement before we rise for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Robinson

No, Sir; I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's premise.

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