HC Deb 09 February 1987 vol 110 cc7-8
6. Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will review his Department's policy towards services for mental illness; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mark Robinson

As my right hon. Friend announced on 24 October 1986, we intend to publish a paper setting out the ways in which services for those suffering from mental illness can be further developed and improved.

Mr. Thomas

Does the Minister accept that those who are engaged in the mental illness service in the social services, the Health Service and the voluntary sector will be disappointed by that reply, as they had hoped that the Minister would be able to announce some progress in this area? Will he ensure that the money available for the development of mental health services in Wales is substantially increased in view of the recent estimate by Clwyd, for example, that its strategy for adult mental illness will cost more than £6 million in revenue funds and £8 million in capital costs? Will he make an announcement soon of the development programme and on increasing the funding?

Mr. Robinson

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are as anxious as he is to make progress on such matters. It is important to get the consultation right. We shall make our decision and publish the report as soon as we can. In the coming financial year £10 million will be available for mental handicap, and we intend to continue our commitment.

Mr. Harvey

While warmly welcoming the Government's strategy of getting the mentally ill back into the community, may I ask my hon. Friend to consider the devastating impact on the local community of the closure of North Wales hospital? Will he consider providing Welsh Office funding for any viable proposal for the use of the building?

Mr. Robinson

Before we reach that stage, we must carry out the necessary consultation. We have not yet made a final decision.