HC Deb 09 May 1972 vol 836 cc1119-20
15. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received asking for changes in the Government's 15-year plan for long-stay mental hospitals; and if he will make a statement.

Sir K. Joseph

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the memorandum on hospital services for the mentally ill issued last December or to the Command Paper on "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" published last June. No specific time limit was set for completion of the redevelopment of either set of services, although we hope to make very substantial progress within the next 15 years. I have not received formal representations though I am aware that there are differing views on some aspects of these policies.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that both the National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and the Royal Society of Health are deeply concerned about these proposals and have expressed their concern in public? Is he satisfied, before he goes ahead with these plans, that he will have the co-operation and support of all the doctors, nurses and local authority servants who work for the mentally ill, as success depends on their co-operation?

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, Sir. I am anxious lo work very closely with all the professions. I had a session with the NSMHC recently, when I asked its representatives to come and discuss with me any gap there might be between us.

Mr. Carter-Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman view the film, which had its premiere today, called "Like Other People ", which shows the emotional and sexual needs of disabled people and of mentally handicapped people? Will he look at the film before other Questions are tabled and also read the authoritative report by Ann Shearer, brought out today, on the emotional needs of mentally handicapped people?

Sir K. Joseph

I will try to see the film.