§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been given leave to be discharged from Moss Side hospital, Merseyside, through successfully winning an appeal to him under the terms of the Mental Health Act; how many are still there; how long it takes on average between a patient winning an appeal and being allowed to leave; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I presume that the hon. member has in mind those patients at Moss Side who are subject to the restrictions set out in section 65 of the Mental Health Act 1959—known as "restricted patients"—and who can be discharged only with my right hon. Friend's authority. Most restricted patients are discharged conditionally in the first instance; and the usual practice is for my right hon. Friend to give his consent to discharge in principle some time in advance of a contemplated date for discharge so that suitable arrangements for residence and supervision in the community can be made. As soon as these arrangements have been approved, my right hon. Friend will issue his warrant for discharge. No such arrangements are necessary if he has given his authority for an absolute discharge. Discharge warrants—whether for absolute or conditional discharge—take effect immediately.399W
In the period 1 January to 7 December 1981, one restricted patient was discharged from Moss Side hospital absolutely and three were discharged conditionally. The conditional discharges took effect approximately one month, three mmonths and six months, respectively, after my right hon. Friend's approval in principle had been given.