HC Deb 27 November 1984 vol 68 cc762-3
2. Mr. Stan Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether medical members of the Mental Health Act Commission receive additional sessional fees from their employing authorities in respect of their work with the commission.

The Minister for Health (Mr. Kenneth Clarke)

Consultants who are members of the Mental Health Act Commission may need to adjust their clinical commitments to accommodate their commission work. If, as a result, patient services might be reduced to an unacceptable level, health authorities should seek to make good the loss by employing a locum or in some other way. If that is not feasible, they may, at their discretion, award payment for one temporary extra session to the commission member.

Mr. Thorne

I thank the Minister for his reply. Can he state whether commissioners who are self-employed or employed by private employers receive payment in the form of fees for their work as commissioners?

Mr. Clarke

They receive expenses. At the moment we do not think that it is a good idea to put all the commissioners on a fee-paying basis. We look sympathetically at any situation in which a member might suffer hardship or difficulty, but we have an extremely strong commission, with very good members, and they do not have to be paid a fee for their work.

Mr. Proctor

Will my right hon. and learned Friend take this opportunity to congratulate the chairman and members of the Mental Health Act Commission on their work, because the commission has been going only a short time but has become a responsible body in this area?

Mr. Clarke

I shall pass on my hon. Friend's congratulations to Lord Colville and his colleagues.