§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Prime Minister what recent representations she has had about the hospital conditions in which mentally handicapped people are cared for; what has been her response; and if she will make a statement.
§ The Prime Minister
I have received a letter from the right hon. Member concerning the level of care and facilities for the mentally handicapped and in particular conditions at Botleys Park hospital, Chertsey. Health authorities recognise the importance of maintaining and, where possible, improving the standards of care in hospitals for the mentally handicapped. At the same time they do all they can with the local authorities to enable people who do not need hospital care to move to more appropriate care in the community. On the question of conditions at Botleys Park hospital, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has now received a report from the North-West Surrey health authority. The health authority has drawn up a comprehensive plan to improve both conditions at the hospital and services for the mentally handicapped in the district. I understand the health authority will be releasing parts of the national development team's report on mental handicap services in the district and outlining the action being taken at a press conference tomorrow afternoon. I shall reply to the right hon. Member's letter shortly.