HC Deb 23 February 1971 vol 812 cc296-7
16. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hostels for the mentally handicapped are now in operation in the United Kingdom.

Sir K. Joseph

There are now 240 local authority hostels for the mentally handicapped in operation in England, Scotland and Wales providing 4,956 places. An additional 2,187 places are available in voluntary and private hostels.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

To what extent will there be an increase in these hostel places? Can my right hon. Friend give any estimate of how many beds may be made free in mental hospitals as a result of the desire to move mentally handicapped people into that type of hostel?

Sir K. Joseph

There is considerable scope for moving people from mentally handicapped hospitals into the community. There are 43 local authority hostels under construction in addition to those I mentioned, and a further 322 hostels in local authority programmes for the period up to March, 1973.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

In view of the distressingly overcrowded condition of many wards in mentally handicapped hospitals still, despite the steps taken in the past year or so, will the right hon. Gentleman consider asking regional hospital boards as well as local authorities to consider establishing hostels, in this case within hospital grounds? My impression is that a number of the hospitals have sites large enough to allow hostels to be constructed.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, Sir.

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