§ Sir G. Nabarro
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will inquire fully into the circumstances at Lea Castle Hospital on 12th January 1973 when John Curran strangled himself with his own braces; what was the cause of death; and what steps he is taking to prevent the repetition of such an occurrence.
§ Sir K. Joseph
The cause of John Curran's death was strangulation with a ligature, apparently in the course of a game with other patients which went too far. The coroner returned an open verdict. A report was also made by the police to the Director of Public Prosecutions and one of the other patients involved has been transferred to a secure hospital. From reports received from the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board I am satisfied that no useful purpose would be served in making further inquiries into this unfortunate incident. The real solu-538W
ponding figures for each year since 1960 are given in the following table:
ESTIMATED NUMBERS DEFERRING RETIREMENT BEYOND PENSIONABLE AGE Year Men Women (thousands) (thousands) 1960 290 135 1961 285 130 1962 275 130 1963 255 125 1964 250 120 1965 245 115 1966 230 105 1967 220 100 1968 205 90 969 190 80 1970 185 75 971 180 70 972 175 65
The amounts of extra entitlement accruing for each of these years cannot be calculated since they depend on whether the person deferring retirement worked for the whole year and whether part-increments linked with others earned in the previous year. The weekly amount of the increase in pension and the minimum number of contributions required to qualify for such increase were however as follows:
tion to supervision problems lies in increasing staff-patient ratios and reducing patient numbers and the size of patient groupings, objects which are amongst the important aims of the Government's White Paper "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" (Cmnd. 4683).
At Lea Castle Hospital vigorous efforts continue to be made—with some further success since this incident—towards these ends. Clerical staff have also recently been appointed to undertake some work formerly performed by nurses.