§ Mr. Canavan
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the standard of care of the mentally handicapped and mentally ill in hospitals and in the community; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
We are never complacent with regard to standards, which we are always seeking to improve.
In paragraphs 90–100 of the Government's response* to the report from the Social Services Committee on community care, we discuss guidance on standards, and the ways in which health and social services for mentally handicapped and mentally ill people are monitored in England. Central policies need to be implemented locally on the basis of local consultation, professional assessment of individual needs, and local circumstances. In England, the national development team for mentally handicapped people and the Health Advisory Service aim to help authorities to monitor and improve their activities and inform my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services of the state of those aspects of mental health services with which they are variously concerned. The Mental Health Act Commission's work is also relevant. No one can be satisfied with some of the gaps, weaknesses and prejudices to which they draw attention in their reports, but my colleagues and I learn from these and from our own visits and in other ways of good quality services and achievements that are real, widespread and encouraging. They show what can be done to make the best use of resources, and promote the spread of good practice by their example.
* Government response to the Report from the Social Services Committee "Community Care", (Cmnd. 9674 (1985)).