HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc668-9W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the research commissioned by him in the last five years on(a) suicide, (b) assisted suicide and (c) voluntary euthanasia, with special reference to practice in European jurisdictions. [43321]

Ms Blears

The Department commissioned a research project on suicide in high risk occupational groups, conducted by Professor Keith Hawton and colleagues at the centre for suicide research, University of Oxford. The project was funded over the period 1 December 1993 to 30 June 2000.

In addition, the Department funds the national confidential inquiry into suicides and homicides by people with mental illness to ensure that everyone involved with mental health services learns and implements lessons from the factors associated with serious incidents. The inquiry, led by Professor Louis Appleby, is crucial to gaining a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding homicides and suicides committed by people with mental illness.

Safety First, the 5 year report on suicide and homicide by psychiatric patients, builds on Professor Appleby's earlier report "Safer Services" published in 1999. The Department is committed to taking necessary action in response to the findings of the Inquiry. We have already published the national service framework for mental health and national plan which specifically address a number of the recommendations out lined in the earlier report. The key findings and further recommendations outlined in Safety First will be given full consideration and will help to inform the national suicide prevention strategy that we are currently developing.

In addition, the Department has funded: A trial of social work interventions for adolescents who have attempted suicide. A pilot study of mental health crisis cards. Factors underlying and maintaining nurses' positive therapeutic attitudes to patients with severe personality disorder. A study "Does dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) reduce deliberate self-harm in female patients with borderline personality disorder?

In addition the NHS funds the following projects: Suicides and open verdicts on the Railway Network An investigation into recent temporal trends and geographic patterns of suicide. Lay understandings of suicide, its aetiology and preventibility: a qualitative analysis of interviews with bereaved relatives. A case control study of suicide among persons not known to mental health services. The role of primary care in suicide prevention Psychosocial characteristics of attempted suicide patients in Oxford Evaluation of the effects of legislation about the availability of paracetamol and asprin on suicide and attempted suicide A study to determine the psychological distress experienced by parents bereaved by suicide or by other uncertain causes. There are currently no directly funded research projects, funded by the Department into assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia.

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