HC Deb 30 July 1923 vol 167 cc1070-1W

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the recent transfer of the Lunacy Department by Order in Council from the Home Office to his Department has had the result of throwing into abeyance many matters connected with legal sanction and the liberty of the individual; and, in view of the fact that the scope of his Ministry does not extend to judicial investigation, will he consider the possibility of instituting a court of appeal for persons unjustifiably confined in asylums?


The transfer of certain powers under the Lunacy Acts to the Ministry of Health by Order in Council under the Ministry of Health Act has not had the result suggested by the hon. Member; the second part of the question does not, therefore, arise.


asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that the Lunacy Act provides that no sick person can be committed to an asylum unless the initiative is taken by a relative while, in the case of the poor, patients are constantly committed to asylums against the wishes of their friends and relatives, who are told by Poor Law officials that they have no voice in the matter, he will see that steps will be taken forthwith by his Department to post up in the waiting rooms of infirmaries Section 22 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, so that the rights of the friends and relatives of poor patients shall no longer be purposely concealed from them?


The hon. Member is doubtless aware that the Lunacy Act provides for other means of admission to an asylum in addition to the particular one stated in the question. His suggestion of wrongful action on the part of Poor Law officials is one which I cannot, on my present information, accept. If the hon. Member has any proofs of it, I shall be glad to be made acquainted with them. As I stated in answer to his question of the 11th of July, I doubt if the posting up of Section 22 would serve any useful purpose, but I am quite ready to consider the point further on receipt of the particulars above mentioned.