§ 8. Mr. Moonman
asked the Minister of Health what grants and facilities he has made available to regional hospital boards to enable them to act in accordance with Her Majesty's Government's Circular (67) 70 and to provide reasonable pocket money to indigent patients in psychiatric hospitals in line with amounts paid by the Supplementary Benefits Commission to patients in general hospitals.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
The cost is met from the general financial allocations to 1225 hospital authorities. These are increased to take account of increases in the maximum pocket money rate for these patients whenever this is adjusted following an increase in the rate paid by the Supplementary Benefits Commission to patients in other hospitals.
§ Mr. Moonman
In placing pyschiatric patients on an equal footing with general patients, which is a move that is welcomed on this side of the House, would my hon. Friend state what regional boards are expected to do to provide the increased pocket money without Ministry help? Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in one instance alone, the regional board has now to foot a bill of £13,500?
§ Mr. Robinson
I have sent circulars to regional boards on this matter. The maximum weekly amount was increased in October, 1967, in line with an increase in Supplementary Benefits Commission rates, and a special allocation which will cost about £200,000 in a full year will be made to cover the extra cost of this.