HC Deb 14 July 1993 vol 228 cc526-7W
Ms Jowell

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to extend the availability of advocates to patients wishing to make complaints about mental health services.

Mr. Bowis

We have advised health authorities and service providers of the need to support the work of independent advocacy services in the mental illness key area handbook. The independent national health service complaints review announced last month will be considering the procedures for the making and handling of complaints by NHS patients and their families in the United Kingdom, and the costs and benefits of alternatives to current procedures.

Ms Primarolo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mentally ill patients were treated(a) in the community and (b) as in-patients, for each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Mr. Bowis

Information on the number of patients treated in the community is not available centrally.

The table gives the number of admissions to national health service hospitals in England. For 1985–86 the figures are from the mental health inquiry and for 1985–88 to 1989–90 from the hospital episode statistics system.

The figures include people admitted more than once in a year.

Mental illness
All admissions to NHS hospitals (England)
1985 199,995
1986 197,251
1987–88 203,700
1988–89 188,900
1989–90 194,500

Note: Figures up to 1986 are admissions to mental illness hospitals and units during the calendar year and include transfers between hospitals. From 1987–88, figures are estimates of admissions to all NHS hospitals during the financial year of patients under the mental illness specialties. These exclude transfer between hospitals.

Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to amend the code of practice under the Mental Health Act 1983 with regard to the discharge of patients into the community; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Bowis

We have revised chapter 27 of the code of practice on aftercare arrangements to draw attention to the care programme approach set out in departmental circulars. In the case of patients who have been detained, the application of the care programme approach should meet health and local authorities obligations under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to provide aftercare. The revised code was laid before Parliament on 19 May and we intend to publish it in the autumn.