HEALTH – MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES – 7 February 2006
Dr Julian Lewis: I accept what the Minister says about the desirability of people being treated in the community if possible. Will she in turn accept that if someone suffers from an acute psychiatric breakdown there is no prospect of their being able to look after themselves in the community, and they will need to be an in-patient? It is important that such an in-patient should not be put in with people with different types of mental illness, who may be psychotic or even violent. What progress have the Government made to ensure that regard is had to the very different types of mental illness, so that people are treated separately where appropriate?
[The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): It is important to ensure that people who are dangerous or violent are held in more secure units than those suffering, for example, from a clinical breakdown. That is why we have increased the number of medium secure beds, why we have looked at changes for the high-security hospitals and why we have many more low secure beds. It is important that we make the distinction between people who need a secure environment and those who do not.]