§ 17. Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in recent months in transferring patients from mental handicap hospitals to small community units.
§ Mr. Fowler:
The report of the review of mental handicap services since 1971—"Progress, Problems and Priorities", published last year—demonstrated the shifting balance of care from hospitals to residential homes and, while we have no precise numbers, I believe that residential provision for the mentally handicapped in small community units—including those provided by the Health Service—is continuing to increase. The total number of patients in mental handicap hospitals continues to fall. As I made clear in my speech at Blackpool last week, we intend that this shall continue to be a priority area.