MENTAL HEALTH – IN-PATIENT UNITS – 24 May 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: On mental health, will the new Bill do anything to address the deficiency, which has existed for many years since the closure of so many institutions, that when people suffer acute psychiatric breakdowns, the only residential care available to them mixes them in with other people who are often suffering from such severe psychotic conditions that the in-patient care makes their conditions worse rather than better? Is any step being taken to give different forms of in-patient care to people who suffer from different acute mental health problems?

[The Secretary of State for Health (Ms Patricia Hewitt): The Bill is designed to create the legal framework rather than to specify the detail of service provision in every part of the country. However, by making it possible to compel treatment if that is appropriate, and to do so not only by detaining people in an in-patient hospital, it will provide a much more appropriate and modern legal framework for the kind of treatment that the best psychiatric services want to give patients who are suffering the type of serious breakdown to which the hon. Gentleman refers.]