HC Deb 15 November 1977 vol 939 cc121-2W
48. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further proposals he has to improve facilities for treatment of mental health.

Mr. Ennals

The Government's policy on the future development of services for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped is set out in the White Papers "Better Services for the Mentally Ill" (Cmnd. 6233) and "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" (Cmnd. 4683). The aim is to develop a range of local facilities which will ultimately replace the existing pattern of services based on large and often isolated institutions, and meanwhile to improve conditions at these mental hospitals.

The Consultative Document on Priorities for Health and Personal Social Services in England, published last year, makes it clear that it is our policy to devote an increasing proportion of NHS capital and revenue expenditure to improve facilities for mentally ill and mentally handicapped people over the next few years. The changes involved will take time and will require careful strategic planning in particular between health and local authorities, particularly in regard to satisfactory arrangements during the transitional period.

"The Way Forward", published this September, represents the latest stage in the continuing dialogue between my Department and field authorities about how the development of local facilities can best be pursued within the resources likely to be available and in the face of practical difficulties which may arise over the next few years.