HC Deb 28 October 1987 vol 121 cc302-3W
Mr. Wareing

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about the standard of service provided for multi-handicapped visually-impaired people in mental handicap hospitals; what steps he is taking to improve this service; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott

The Royal National Institute for the Blind has sent to the Department for consideration a copy of its report "Out of Isolation" which concerns the development of services for multi-handicapped visually-impaired adults, including those currently resident in mental handicap hospitals. It is for health and local authorities in co-operation to consider how best to the needs of all handicapped people in their areas but the Department has given wide circulation to "Helping Mentally Handicapped People with Special Problems", the report of a DHSS study team published in 1984. This reviewed current approaches to meeting the needs of mentally handicapped people with special problems, including those with visual handicaps, and made suggestions for improvements in services for them. The national development team for people with a mental handicap is available to advise authorities on such services. In addition, the Department has agreed to grant-aid the South Regional Association for the Blind towards the cost of employing a development officer to help plan community-based services for multi-handicapped visually-impaired people.