HC Deb 26 March 1969 vol 780 cc1622-3
45. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what facilities exist for parents living in the Wirral peninsula to have their pre-school children diagnosed and treated for severe mental subnormality; and how many such children were so diagnosed in the area in each of the last five years.

Mr. Pentland

In addition to the services of general practitioners and child health and child guidance clinics, the services are available of five consultant paediatricians and four consultants in subnormality, with paediatric hospital facilities for diagnosis in Chester, Bebington, Birkenhead and Wallasey. There is no specific treatment for sub-normality, but care and training is arranged by the local health authorities, and hospital in-patient accommodation is provided at Newchurch Hospital, near Warrington, Greaves Hall Hospital, near Southport, and at certain other hospital units in the region. No figures are readily available of the total number of pre-school children in the Wirral peninsula classified as severely mentally subnormal.

Mr. Brooks

I thank my hon. Friend for that information, but will not he agree that there is an urgent need for quick and effective diagnosis of childhood disorders such as autism, dyslexia and childhood schizophrenia which, if not handled very early on, can later cause severe difficulties? Is he entirely satisfied that health visitors and general practitioners are fully up to date and conversant with modern medical research?

Mr. Pentland

Yes, again I agree with my hon. Friend on his earlier remarks. In reply to his second point, yes, but there is, as he is fully aware, no inpatient subnormality provision for children in the Wirral peninsula; however, I am advised that the Liverpool Regional Hospital Board has this point very much in mind.