§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with conditions at Stoke Park Mental Hospital; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Conditions in the older wards at this hospital are still, I regret, far from satisfactory. The proper solution lies in greatly reducing patient numbers. To this end the regional hospital board is providing 60 beds at Gloucester in the current financial year as the first instalment of developments co-ordinated with those of the local authorities, as recommended in paragraph 268 of "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped" (Cmnd. 4683).
In the meantime a programme of improvements is being implemented at Stoke Park with the object of achieving by 1975 the minimum standards referred to in paragraph 226 of the Command Paper. This has included the installation of new laundry equipment which should overcome the present problems with clothing.
Since March, 1969, revenue allocations to the Stoke Park Group have been increased by more than £300,000. In about the same period, some £650,000 of capital has also been spent on improvements at Stoke Park and Purdown Hospitals and schemes estimated to cost £250,000 are in progress or planned for the near future at these hospitals. My Department is considering an application from the regional hospital board for an additional consultant appointment based at Stoke Park and has given special approval for the immediate erection of two temporary units at Stoke Park and another two at the adjoining Purdown Hospital.245W
These, together with additional buildings at Hanham Hospital, will provide new accommodation for about 180 of the present patients in the Stoke Park Group and will relieve overcrowding in the older wards to a corresponding extent. The hospital management committee has consulted the local fire authority about possible fire hazards presented by the present buildings and work on recommendations for escape routes and internal smoke doors is almost complete.