§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in view of concern felt by the staff at Park Lane special security hospital at the full reports appearing in the press concerning incidents affecting Michael Fagan, he will cause investigation to be made to ascertain how this information was given to the press and what seeps should be taken to prevent recurrences of such incidents.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Patients in special hospitals are entitled to be treated with respect and to have their cases handled in confidence, in the same way as patients in any other hospital. While recognising the legitimate public interest in the service provided by special hospitals, I disapprove of the practice of some newspapers in treating individual patients as objects of popular curiosity. I particularly deplore any improper divulging of information about patients by any member of the staff at a special hospital. Following discussions with officers of my Department and with local representatives of the Prison Officers' Association, the hospital management team at Park Lane Hospital has recently issued, with the full support of the local POA, a special notice to all staff at the hospital, expressing its concern at such unprofessional behaviour and calling on all staff to assist in preventing any recurrence. Arty members of the staff of a special hospital found to have improperly divulged information about a patient will render themselves liable to disciplinary action.