§ Mr. Illsley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to(a) monitor and investigate deaths of patients in private psychiatric hospitals and (b) monitor standards of care in private psychiatric hospitals.
§ Mr. Bowis
All hospitals in all sections, which are caring for patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 should notify the Mental Health Act Commission of the death of any such patient. Health authorities and national health service trusts purchasing services from private psychiatric hospitals should ensure that their contract allows for the procedures outlined in circular HSG(94)27 to be initiated following the death of any NHS—funded patient. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.
Arrangements for monitoring the standards of care given to NHS patients in private psychiatric hospitals are agreed between health authorities and NHS trusts and the private hospital as part of the contracting process. The Mental Health Act Commission visits detained patients in private psychiatric hospitals regularly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigations are being carried out into the deaths of Oswald Morson, Grant Anstead, Alex Clements and Alan Bannister at the Kneesworth House private psychiatric hospital.
§ Mr. Bowis
These cases have been investigated by the coroner. An inquest into the death of Alexander Clements was held in Sheffield on 19 December. In the case of Alan Bannister, the coroner has decided that an inquest is not required. An inquest into the death of Oswald Morson will be held on 6 March. An inquest into the death of Grant Anstead has been opened and adjourned to a date yet to be fixed.
In each case, the hospital managers have held an internal inquiry and made a full report on the outcome to the health authority responsible for funding the patient's care.
The Mental Health Act Commission is currently carrying out a review of the circumstances of these patients' deaths, as it does in all such deaths.