§ Mr. O'Brien
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the conditions of service for nurses who transfer with mentally handicapped people from the hospitals to community care for mentally handicapped people with social services departments; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. O'Brien
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards mental handicap nursing, in the light of the report by regional nursing officers regarding the priority given to caring for mentally-handicapped people; what information he has as to the morale of nurses who care for long-stay patients; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Currie
I am aware of unofficial reports of discussion at a private meeting of regional nursing officers but these have been criticised as inaccurate by the RNOs present. The support of RNOs for the high priority accorded by the Government to ensuring appropriate care for mentally handicapped people is very important. Uncertainties at a time of major change in services have been reflected in discussions Ministers and officials have held with the various nursing bodies. I am therefore glad to be able to pay tribute to the major contributions mental handicap nurses have made to the process of change; and to confirm the message in the Government's November 1985 response to the Social Services Committee report on community mental health services (Cmnd. 9674) and in the chief nursing officer's letter of 18 December 1985 (CNO(85)5) that mental handicap nurses will continue to have an important contribution to make to the support of mentally handicapped people in traditional settings, and in their own homes and in a range of residential and other settings in the community.