CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

MENTAL HEALTH – IN-PATIENT UNITS – 7 May 2003

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr David Lammy): The hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) raised some big future stuff. Of course, decisions must be based on the clinical decisions that people make on the ground. However, the hon. Gentleman talked about the separation of types of treatment. That is not the direction of Government policy or where we began our inquiry. The capacity constraints and problems were such that we simply had to lay down minimum standards to begin with.]

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Minister accept the principle that it is wrong for people with very different types of mental illness to be lumped together on the same wards where they can harm each other's prospects of progress, or, indeed, harm each other?

[Mr Lammy: The hon. Gentleman will know that there is a long tradition of Ministers laying down standards and frameworks and taking expert advice. Decisions must be made locally and clinically. He will also know that the Government have done much to ensure that when local situations arise – I do not know his locality – people can raise issues through overview and scrutiny panels. We also have a new inspectorate and patient forums. The Government have put in place a number of mechanisms by which such situations and incidents can be dealt with as they arise – something that was not the case in the past.]