§ Mr. Ashley
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he intends to take to speed up the closure of old psychiatric hospitals in the west midlands and improve the local comprehensive services.
§ Mrs. Currie
The Department has no intention of asking health authorities to speed up the closure of old psychiatric hospitals. This is the consequence of improving community care facilities in the area. Responsibility for developing comprehensive locally based services for mentally ill people in west midlands rests with the regional and district health authorities. It is for them to judge the pace at which change can be effected and especially the point at which new services are sufficient to enable existing institutions to be closed. We keep progress under careful review via the short-term planning and review systems. At the last review the region was asked to report in detail on progress for discussion at the next ministerial review.