HC Deb 11 June 1968 vol 766 c9
6. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Health what increased expenditure he is proposing for 1968-69 on research into the causes and treatment of mental illnesses.

Mr. K. Robinson

Expenditure by my Department on research into various aspects of mental illness and mental sub-normality will be about £54,000 in 1968–69, compared with £33,000 in 1967–68.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

As about half the beds in this country are occupied by people suffering from mental illness, will the right hon. Gentleman, in this Mental Health Week, do something to increase the effort, both financial and otherwise, put into research?

Mr. Robinson

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the main agencies for the support of research are the universities and the Medical Research Council for which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Lipton

Without denying the value of this kind of research, may I ask my right hon. Friend to give priority to ensuring that local health authorities have a sufficient number of local health workers to visit mental cases on a domiciliary basis?

Mr. Robinson

I think that we need both.

Lord Balniel

As only 8 per cent. of the Medical Research Council's budget is devoted to research into mental illness and mental subnormality, and as, as my hon. Friend said, 50 per cent. of the hospital beds are occupied by patients who are mentally ill, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there ought to be a marked improvement or a full explanation given to the public so that this situation is acceptable to them?

Mr. Robinson

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to address questions about the Medical Research Council to my right hon. Friend who is the responsible Minister.

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