§ Mr. Oswald
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that mentally ill patients who might be potentially dangerous to the community receive hospital treatment under secure conditions.
§ Mr. Ross
In the first place I propose to expand the State hospital further. It is my statutory duty to make provision in the state hospital for mental patients and mental defectives subject to detention who require treatment under conditions of special security on account of their dangerous, violent or criminal propensities. The hospital is full at present, but is already being expanded. A new 30 bed male block will be completed within a year and plans are in hand for a 30 bed female block, and another 24 bed male block building will go ahead as soon as possible. Expansion has up to now been limited by difficulties of nurse staffing at the hospital, but it has now been decided to establish there a training school for State enrolled nurses. This will I hope considerably improve the staffing situation.
Secondly, I should make it clear that by no means all patients who are confined to hospital by court order or who are obstreperous or difficult to control, require the maximum security of the State hospital. 336W There will always be a small minority of patients in other hospitals who require some degree of security so far as possible without prejudicing either their treatment or the open character of the hospital as a whole which must be maintained in the interest of the large majority of patients. I am asking regional hospital boards to consider whether the arrangements they make for this purpose can be improved.