HC Deb 26 July 1979 vol 971 cc488-90W
Mr. Ashton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the proposed review of Rampton special hospital.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Yes. It will be recalled that I announced on 21 May that I was referring to the Director of Public Prosecutions the allegations made on the Yorkshire Television programme about the treatment of individual patients at Rampton hospital. The full text of the announcement was given in my reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton. North-East (Mrs. Short) on 23 May.—[Vol. 967, c.123-5.] In that statement I said that I also intended to institute a thorough review of the organisation and facilities of the hospital. The full terms of reference for this independent review have now been drawn up and Sir John Boynton MC, retiring chief executive, Cheshire county council, has accepted my invitation to serve as chairman of the review team which will report to me. The terms of reference, which are set out in full below, have been widely drawn to cover the whole organisation and running of the hospital including the admission, treatment and care of patients at the hospital, the monitoring of standards, the procedure for dealing with complaints and the links which the hospital has with the outside world.

The review will not, of course, cover any of the matters referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In addition to the chairman, it is hoped that the team will include members with knowledge and experience of psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychiatric nursing, hospital administration, psychiatric social work, as well as a layman with an interest in the fields of mental illness and mental handicap. I shall arrange for the full membership, which is being drawn up in consultation with the health advisory service and the development team for the mentally handicapped, to be announced as soon as possible.

This review will thus be conducted by people independent of my Department and who have not been recently or directly involved with the running of the special hospitals. At the same time, it will not be a judicial inquiry requiring formal rules of procedure. Any persons having information which would be useful to the review are invited to communicate with the secretary to the review at the health advisory service.

It will be my intention to publish the team's report.

I am anxious that the setting up of this review, and the institution of police investigations into particular allegations, should not obscure from our minds the great amount of fine work carried out at Rampton and the other special hos- pitals. This work is done in difficult and often dangerous circumstances and it is essential that, while the investigations and the review are under way, the work should be fully maintained.

Terms of Reference To review the organisation, management and functioning of Rampton special hospital and to recommend changes where these are considered desirable.

The review should in particular cover:

  1. 1. The selection and arrangements for the admission of patients and the establishment of continuing links with relatives.
  2. 2. The general care and well-being of patients together with the arrangements for the safety of patients and staff, and for security.
  3. 3. The nature and quality of the programmes for the assessment and treatment of patients and whether they conform to currently accepted professional practice.
  4. 4. The creation and maintenance of as full a life as possible for each patient consistent with his or her condition and the need for security.
  5. 5. The effectiveness of the arrangements for assessing and preparing for the discharge or transfer of patients who no longer need the secure care provided by special hospitals.
  6. 6. The arrangements in the hospital and the Department for the adequate monitoring of standards at the hospital.
  7. 7. The general organisation and management of the hospital both within and between disciplines and as a whole, including the role of the Department.
  8. 8. The formulation of a system for making and dealing with complaints in line with best current practice elsewhere.
  9. 9. The arrangements for staffing the hospital, including the recruitment and training of staff, and the efficient use of staff and other resources.
  10. 10. The links of the hospital and patients with the outside world.

It is essential that the review should not in any way cut across the criminal investigations being carried out by the police for the Director of Public Prosecutions on allegations of ill-treatment of individual patients at the hospital. For this purpose, the team will need to discuss their proposed programme and methods of work in advance with the Director or his representative.

It is not the function of the review to collect or consider specific allegations of deliberate ill-treatment of patients. If in the course of their work the team comes across evidence of such ill-treatment, it will be under a duty to transmit this evidence to the police undertaking the criminal investigation, unless it is clear that the evidence has already been brought to the notice of the police."

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