HC Deb 29 June 1976 vol 914 cc179-80
7. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the progress of the South Derbyshire Area Health Authority in following up his Department's and the regional health authority's guidelines on the provision of interim regional secure units attached to Derbyshire hospitals.

Dr. Owen

No, Sir. I understand that at its meeting on 10th May the Derbyshire AHA noted the Trent RHA's formal direction to area health authorities to arrange such provision and that senior officers of the area health authority are urgently holding discussions with consultant medical staff about the extent of the need for such provision within the area, and how best to meet it.

Mr. Whitehead

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but is he aware that the constituent whose case I have had to raise in the House is now in Rampton Hospital and could be there indefinitely because of the lack of facilities for treating cases of personality disorder? Is he aware that the problem extends wider than Derbyshire?

Dr. Owen

It is a difficult problem. It involves difficulties of staff attitudes and professional views. Special hospitals are overcrowded and cannot accept all such cases. The only way in which the problem can be solved is by each region taking responsibility for its own area.

Sir George Young

Will the Minister confirm, despite the recommendations of the Butler Committee, that many regional health authorities have no plans for special units?

Dr. Owen

Progress in that direction is disappointingly slow and patchy. Some regions are making progress. The Government are doing everything they can. They are meeting the revenue and capital costs of secure units and have done all that they can to deal with staff problems and other difficulties. I am hopeful that we are now making more rapid progress.