HC Deb 16 July 1987 vol 119 cc625-6W
Mr. Irving

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the Audit Commission's 1986 report "Making a reality of Community Care", with regard to provision for the mentally ill.

Mrs. Currie

The Government do not think that the substantial progress already made in carrying forward the policy of community care is properly reflected in the Audit Commission report; in particular, in the mental illness field, its account of existing community facilities is misleading. The report of Sir Roy Griffith's overview of community care policy due by the end of this year, however, has it available as written evidence, and we await this report with interest.

The challenge of providing a good comprehensive community-orientated modern service for mentally ill people has been patchily met by health and local authorities; and successive Governments have recognised that it will take a good deal of effort over a long period to produce the kind of service we want. But a great deal has been achieved; the Health Advisory Service, and Good Practices in Mental Health with sponsorship from the Department have helped to catalogue and spread good practice. Since 1979 gross expenditure on hospital and community health services for mentally ill people had grown by 18 per cent. in real terms by 1985 and gross expenditure on personal social services for this group by 47 per cent. (also in real terms) in the same period. A lot remains to be done; and funding for and pressure on authorities are designed to secure appropriate priority for services for mentally ill people.