§ Sir COOPER RAWSON
asked the Minister of Health if he has received representations from local authorities with regard to the increase of mental defectives in the country and the increasing cost of maintaining and extending institutional treatment, the effect of which is usually unsatisfactory and ineffective; and whether he has considered the desirability of introducing legislation for compulsory segregation or such other methods as may be considered necessary for preventing an increase in the number of cases?
§ Sir K. WOOD
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, but my right hon. Friend is not aware of evidence to indicate that the incidence of mental defect is increasing. Though the cost of maintaining and extending institutional treatment is heavy, my right hon. Friend cannot accept the suggestion that it is usually either unsatisfactory or ineffective. The mental deficiency Act of 1913 already provides machinery by which defectives can be segregated or placed under guardianship or supervision. The absence of sufficient institutional accommodation is hampering the operation of the Act and local authorities have been urged to make further provision.