HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 cc20-2
34. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Minister of Health whether he has now arranged for some patients at Broadmoor Hospital to be transferred to Rampton as recommended by the Estimates Committee's Report on the Special Hospitals.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Kenneth Robinson)

No such transfers have been made since publication of the Report but the possibilities are being actively considered.

Mr. van Straubenzee

In view of the cogent arguments put forward by the Estimates Committee, can the right hon. Gentleman forecast when he expects such transfers to take place?

Mr. Robinson

The hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that in the past four years an average of 15 male patients a year have been transferred from Broadmoor to Rampton or Moss Side. There are at present only 18 unoccupied beds for men at Rampton Hospital.

Mr. Bellenger

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is some apprehension among residents in the near vicinity of Rampton about this transfer from Broad-moor? Will special security arrangements be made when the transfer takes place?

Mr. Robinson

My right hon. Friend and his constituents should appreciate that no transfers will be made to Rampton except of patients who are suitable for treatment there; that is, patients who are broadly similar to those who are already being treated at Rampton.

Mr. Dean

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the conditions at Broadmoor are very disturbing and that the staff there are working under exceedingly difficult conditions in trying to treat the patients?

Mr. Robinson

I accept that there is an undesirable degree of overcrowding at Broadmoor. As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is planned to build a further special hospital in the North of England to relieve the pressure on Broadmoor.

35. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Minister of Health when he expects the rebuilding of Broadmoor Hospital to begin.

Mr. K. Robinson

The rebuilding of Broadmoor, which will necessarily have to be phased over several years, began last January, when work on the new workshops started.

Mr. van Straubenzee

While I welcome that Answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give an assurance that during the process of rebuilding very special care will be taken for the security of the comparatively small number of patients who are extremely dangerous and in respect of whom there might be anxiety during the rebuilding process?

Mr. Robinson

Yes, Sir. I can certainly give an assurance that full regard will be had to security arrangements during the rebuilding.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Members of the Estimates Committee who went to Broadmoor were shocked to see the overcrowding there—with one day-room holding 40 people as a dormitory—and that the new building work should be undertake as quickly as possible? Is he aware that 100 years ago the Victorians managed to build Broadmoor in two years and that a Socialist Government should be able to do at least as well as that?

Mr. Robinson

The rebuilding of Broadmoor, which is full, and perhaps—as I know both the hon. Gentleman and I agree—is overfull, is a more complicated operation than building it for the first time.