§ 57. Mr. Blaker
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assistance is given by his Department to research into psychiatry.
§ Dr. Owen
My Department's assistance to psychiatric research can be summarised under three main headings:
- (a) Financial support is being provided to supplement local authority funds for maintaining psychiatric registers in various parts of the country, such as Worcester, Salford, Nottingham, etc. The registers are used to provide (i) descriptive patient and services statistics for local management, (ii) data for evaluation of mental health services and (iii) a sampling frame for detailed studies of special patients. Total financial support for research based on the case registers is in the order of £90,000 to £100,000 per annum.
- (b) Support for a number of projects involving research into psychiatry and mental illness, such as studies of psychiatric illness in a primary care setting, and a study of the value of specific therapeutic techniques in the care and treatment of disturbed and long-term patients. Total financial support is about £250,000 per annum.
- (c) In the field of forensic psychiatry, my Department provides financial support of over £60,000 per annum to the Special Hospitals Research Unit which is involved in research in the special hospitals and related medical and behavioural studies of mentally disordered offenders.
Also, there are arrangements for commissioning of biomedical research relevant to mental health, from the Medical Research Council (MRC), from funds transferred to my Department under the provisions of the White Paper "Framework for Government Research and Development" (Cmnd 5046). The latest figures at present available are for 1974–75, when the MRC's contribution to all mental health research, including mental handicap, was approximately £3.2 million.
In addition, my Department is actively seeking to commission further studies relating to the main priorities identified for research in the mental illness field, including; the measurement and classification of disability; assessment of the numbers and needs of persons who are becoming long-stay patients within the new locally-based pattern of services for the mentally ill; problems of caring for the mentally ill at home and the need for counselling services to help these patients and their families; assessment of the needs of the mentally ill in the community for day care and for residential accommodation of various kinds.