HC Deb 19 December 1974 vol 883 cc545-8W
Mr. Sainsbury

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the visiting arrangements for relatives and friends to patients in York House, Broadmoor, prevented since 22nd November by staff industrial action, will be resumed and the normal work and recreational routines of the establishment reinstated; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long she expects the restrictions on visitors to inmates at Broadmoor to continue; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Dr. Owen

The restrictions on patients' activities at Broadmoor Hospital have resulted from a refusal by nursing staff to move patients out of their wards for any purpose, including visits by friends and relatives. Patients have thus been con- fined to the wards without occupational, social and educational activities and visits. This situation commenced on 21st November.

The nurses have explained that their action stemmed from a decision to reduce to a minimum the risk of physical contact between staff and patients. This followed a successful private prosecution of a nurse by a patient for alleged assault. As this case is the subject of further legal action in the High Court and possibly in the Crown court I would prefer not to comment on the circumstances leading to it.

There have been urgent consultations between officers of my Department, the nurses and their staff association representatives in an effort to get some relaxation of the restrictions, especially those on visits. As an interim measure the nurses at Broadmoor have agreed to relax the ban on visiting, subject to certain conditions regarding visiting hours and the number of visitors per patient, and provided also that there are no visitors under the age of 14. In addition the staff are now allowing patients to take exercise in the fresh air for one hour each day. These relaxations became effective on Saturday 14th December and there have already been some 120 visits to patients.

I cannot yet say how soon there will be a return to normal working.

Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients are at present in Broadmoor Hospital; how many of such patients are subject to an order under Part V of the Mental Health Act 1959; of which offences such patients have been convicted; and what are the terms of the order made in each case.

Dr. Owen

809, of whom 731 were admitted on orders or directions under Part V of the Mental Health Act 1959 or the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964. In 431 cases courts also ordered that the patients should be subject to restrictions on discharge under Section 65 of the Mental Health Act.

The latest available analysis of the orders and directions and offences leading to their issue is set out below. It does not reflect the most recent admissions to and departures from the hospital.

Mental Health Act 1959 Criminal Procedures (Insanity) Act 1964
S. 60—Hospital Order by Court S. 60/65—Hospital Order by Court with restrictions on discharges S. 72—Transferred from Prison while serving sentence S. 72/74—Transferred from Prison while sentence and subject to restrictions on discharge S. 73—Transferred from Prison—Other Prisoners S. 5(l)(a) and (c)— Found unfit to plead or not guilty by reason of insanity Treated as S. 60/65 of Mental Health Act Total
Homicide or attempted homicide 5 159 34 1 107 306
Other offences of violence against persons 41 125 7 28 201
Robbery 2 6 2 1 11
Sexual offences 11 42 7 8 68
Burglary or theft including handling 23 26 5 54
Criminal damage 9 65 2 1 4 81
Other 16 9 1 26
Total 107 432 2 52 1 153 747

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