HC Deb 14 December 1922 vol 159 cc3187-8W

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, whether it is the custom of the Lunacy Department to endorse the detention for a period of many years of able-bodied asylum inmates who cannot be proved to be dangerous and unfit to be at large, for the sole reason that no friend or relative has been available to apply for their discharge; and whether, since it would result in a saving of the rates that some provisional arrangement should be entered into to facilitate the return of such inmates to a condition of self-supporting and self-respecting life again, steps can be taken to that effect?


The detention or discharge of patients in public asylums rests with the Visiting Committees, and no question arises of the endorsement of their decision by the Central Authority. It is not the case that asylum inmates, such as the hon. Member describes, are detained for the sole reason that they have no friends. If a patient is sufficiently recovered to be, able to look after himself, he would be discharged. On the other hand, a patient, partially recovered could only be discharged if he had friends or relatives who were able and willing to take care of him.