§ Mr. Lee
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he is satisfied with the operation of the Mental Health Act as it affects persons made the subject of detention orders by the courts, bearing in mind that the courts have no power to force any hospital to accept any such person as a patient; and if he will make a statement:
(2) how many instances occurred during 1977 of hospitals refusing to accept as patients persons made the subject of Mental Health Act detention orders; and what were the corresponding figures for 1975 and 1976.
§ Mr. Moyle
The Government are reviewing the Mental Health Act 1959 and hope before the summer to publish their proposals for amendment in a White Paper. The Act requires a court, before making a hospital order, to satisfy itself 255W that arrangements have been made for the admission of the offender to the hospital in question. Thus an order cannot be made unless this prior requirement has been fulfilled. There have, I am aware, been a small number of cases where despite having previously undertaken to admit a patient a hospital has later refused to accept him. No central record of such cases is available.
In reviewing the question of consent of the receiving hospital, the Government are, of course, taking into account the views of the Committee on Mentally Abnormal Offenders, chaired by Lord Butler, as expressed in Chapter 14 of its report, to
Variation in expenditure between 1960 and 1976 at 1976 prices (United Kingdom) Variation in percentage of gross national product £ million National insurance … … … … +4,789 +2.87 War pensions and service grants … … … … -6 -0.14 Family allowances … … … … +128 -0.09 Supplementary benefits … … … … +975 +0.63 Other non-contributory benefits … … … … +187 +0.16 Total benefits … … … … +6,070 +3.43