HC Deb 25 February 1975 vol 887 cc119-20W
47. Dr. M. S. Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the alteration was made to the arrangements whereby clinical psychologists automatically have mental health officer status; and what consultations took place with the appropriate Whitley Council's staff side.

Dr. Owen

Clinical psychologists have never been given mental health officer status automatically. Doctors and nurses employed in psychiatric hospitals are the only persons regarded as automatically fulfilling the required conditions.

So far as other persons are concerned, it is necessary to consider whether the individual devotes the whole, or substantially the whole, of his time to the treatment or care of patients suffering from mental disorder. Employing authorities make recommendations in individual cases, based on guidelines provided by the Department.

By 1970 there were wide discrepancies in the recommendations for clinical psychologists and the Department found it necessary to make individual inquiries to enable proper consideration to be given to each case. At first this was done by letter, but in May 1973 a standard form of inquiry was introduced for the purpose.

As no change of policy was involved the Whitley Council Staff Side was not consulted.