§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set a deadline for the transfer of all remaining 378W patients from the old traditional mental hospitals, as these are gradually phased out.
§ Sir K. Joseph
This would not be practicable. The timing of closure of a mental hospital is dependent firstly on providing, in all districts of its catchment area, general hospital psychiatric departments and services for patients suffering from mental deterioration due to ageing or physical illness, sufficient to take all new admissions; and secondly on the length of time it will take after that for the final rundown of the old hospital including possible eventual transfer of remaining patients elsewhere. The first stage is bound up with the timing and phasing of general hospital developments in each area. In many parts of the country these will extend into the 1980s or possibly beyond. The second stage is dependent on and follows the first.