HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 cc474-5WH
4. Dr. Vincent Cable (Twickenham) (LD)

If they will make a statement on steps to improve social housing provision to protect the health of the mentally ill. [153642]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Miss Melanie Johnson)

The "supporting people" programme, launched on 1 April 2003, will deliver high-quality and strategically planned housing-related support to complement existing care services and improve levels of social inclusion for the vulnerable, including those with a mental illness.

Dr. Cable

Does the Minister recognise the problem, which I see locally, of growing numbers of people with mental illness being housed very inappropriately? Often, there are young men on medication among elderly people, to the detriment of the health and welfare of both groups. Will she work with other Departments, including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Office, to ensure that there is stronger guidance for social housing agencies, and better provision of proper, and in particular supervised and sheltered, accommodation?

Miss Johnson

Indeed. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks. Certainly, the Department of Health and the ODPM are working together to carry out the further analyses recommended by the independent review to ensure that the scheme continues on a sustainable basis. That will include looking into the provision of housing, too.