HL Deb 20 March 1991 vol 527 cc24-5WA
Lord Harris of Greenwich

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they propose to take following the inquest on Mr. Kenneth Broadbent, a prisoner who committed suicide in Brixton Prison and whether, as recommended by the Southwark Coroner, they will introduce new prison rules to require speedier examination of inmates remanded for psychiatric reports.

Earl Ferrers:

Mr. Broadbent sadly died on 7th September 1990. He had been resuscitated by prison staff after an apparent suicide attempt on 6th September, but died the following day in an NHS hospital. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death at the inquest. I have not yet received any recommendations from the Coroner but am aware of his comments and will be giving these careful consideration.

On arrival in Brixton Prison on 8th August, Mr. Broadbent was examined promptly by the medical officer. In consequence of that examination the catchment area consultant psychiatrist was asked to make a second assessment which, if concurring with the medical officer's, would have enabled the court to order the patient's removal to hospital under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. Regrettably, and despite reminders from the prison, no assessment visit had been made before Mr. Broadbent's death.

Most assessment visits requested by prison medical officers are made well within the length of time which had elapsed in this case. But delays do occur. When the problem appears to stem from consultant psychiatrists under contract to the NHS it is unlikely that a solution would lie in the introduction of new prison rules. The avoidance of delay, including by the development of court based psychiatric schemes, will be among the matters considered by the recently announced joint Department of Health/Home Office review of psychiatric services for the mentally ill.



Lord Jenkins of Putney

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the concern expressed on behalf of the limbless by the health authority responsible for the Roehampton Centre arising from Government changes is justified; and, if not, what assurance they can give.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hooper):

The fear expressed by the chairman of the district health authority responsible from the end of this month for the Roehampton Disablement Services Centre is unfounded. For disablement services in South West Thames Region, the cash increase for 1991–92 over the current year's budget will be 13.5 per cent. We believe that this will be adequate to meet the needs of amputees and wheelchair users in the region.