HC Deb 11 July 1985 vol 82 cc533-4W
Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will take steps to prevent patients at Broadmoor from being allowed out on visits;

(2) why patients from Broadmoor were recently allowed to visit Windsor; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Visits outside Broadmoor hospital and the other special hospitals are an important element in patient rehabilitation programmes. The visit to Windsor to which my hon. Friend refers took place in July 1984 without any complaint from anyone at the time. Decisions on patient outings or other visits are matters for the clinical judgment of responsible medical officers. In the case of restricted patients, absences from the hospital require the approval of my right hon. and learned Friend, the Home Secretary. Patients taking part in group outings are escorted continuously by nurses from the hospitals. I am quite satisfied that there is no unacceptable degree of risk to the public from such visits.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long trusted patients are allowed to stay in Broadmoor on average before being transferred to ordinary psychiatric hospitals.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

A research study of departures from the four special hospitals covering the years 1978 to 1982 showed the average length of stay of the patients who left in each of those years was:

1978 7.83
1979 7.48
1980 8.95
1981 8.19
1982 8.63

Steps will be taken to transfer a patient to another hospital as soon as it is agreed that he or she no longer requires the high level of security of a special hospital.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients were released from Broadmoor in each of the past five years; and whether any of them were recidivists.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The numbers of patients who left the hospital were as follows:

Broadmoor Hospital
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
Transferred to NHS hospitals whilst still detained under the Mental Health Act 33 56 30 30 36
Discharged into the community 19 12 22 11 11
Returned to prison 4 1 6 6 3
TOTAL 56 69 58 47 50

If my hon. Friend has in mind criminal records prior to admission, I am not able to give the further information requested. While the majority of patients in special hospitals were sent there by court orders or on transfer from prison, about 20 per cent. of these patients were admitted from other hospitals solely on account of the severity of their mental disorder and not as a consequence of appearance before a court.