HC Deb 24 April 2002 vol 384 cc350-2W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the standard of care provided by clinics offering electric shock therapy for mental illness; what arrangements are in place to monitor and inspect these clinics and this practice; and if he will make a statement. [48867]

Jacqui Smith

Health professionals and mental health services managers are expected to ensure that electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is administered to patients in accordance with the guidance issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In September 1998, the Chief Medical Officer and the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote to the chief executives of national health service trusts, consultant psychiatrists indicating the need to consider and improve standards of ECT administration in relation to ongoing developments in clinical governance.

The college has a special committee on ECT and in 1995 it published detailed guidance entitled, "The ECT Handbook—The Second Report of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Special Committee on ECT". This is an important source of practical guidance for health professionals, mental health services managers and patients and includes sections on clinical guidelines; the use and administration of ECT; anaesthesia in ECT; the staffing and layout of ECT suites; matters relating to the law and consent. The appendices include, for example, nursing guidelines in relation to ECT and check lists for good practice in the provision of ECT services. The college is aware of the need to update this guidance and hopes to publish a revised handbook by the end of this year.

The college has established plans to set up an ECT accreditation service and is initially planning to conduct some pilot visits. Currently the college undertakes regular accreditation visits for senior house officer (SHO) training schemes and ECT services are examined to some extent (because some SHOs seeking accreditation may administer ECT). The college's visiting accreditation teams reserve the right not to accredit that part of a particular training scheme if, for example, there is inadequate training and supervision of SHOs.

The Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC) was set up to help safeguard the interests of all people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. As part of its work in visiting detained patients MHAC commissioners routinely check on standards of ECT administration.

As part of its ongoing programme of clinical governance reviews the Commission for Health Improvement carries out observations on services provided in hospitals of which ECT is a key area.

Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of current mental health promotion and early intervention services for children and adolescents. [47436]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 10 April 2002]: The promotion of children's mental health and the prevention of mental ill-health in childhood are central to many Government programmes.

Average daily number of available and occupied beds in mental illness—short stay/secure wards, London regional office area, 2000–01, 1996–97 and 1991–92
Mental illness
Children1 Elderly1 Secure unit2 Other ages1 Total acute mental illness beds
Available beds 76 1,045 565 3,198 4,884
Occupied beds 57 906 525 3,103 4,591
Percentage occupancy 76.1 86.7 93.0 97.0 94.0
Available beds 50 1,030 458 3,006 4,544
Occupied beds 35 882 431 2,835 4,183
Percentage occupancy 69.6 85.7 94.2 94.3 92.1
Available beds 78 837 150 3,068 4,133
1 Short stay
2 Other ages


Percentages may not match exactly due to rounding


KH03—Bed availability and occupancy

We are improving and modernising community mental health services to relieve the pressure on in-patient beds. The NHS Plan contained a commitment to create 335 crisis resolution teams, 50 early intervention teams and a further 50 assertive outreach teams by 2004, so that patients can benefit from these alternatives to in-patient care.

Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the people detained at 31 March 2001 under the Mental Health Act 1983 in private nursing homes were funded by the national health service. [49774]

Jacqui Smith

The Department does not collect information on how patients, detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 in private nursing homes, are funded.

The mental health national service framework has set mental health promotion as its first standard. The Department's mental health project team has recently published an "update" on this standard in which examples of good practice in the promotion of mental health of children and young people at school are described.

The team is also involved in work to promote children's mental health within early years and school settings, including collaboration with the Department for Education and Skills on further initiatives to help schools promote mental health.

To assist future policy development the Department commissioned a research project on the provision of children's mental health care within primary care. A report of the project has been received and arrangements for publication are being made by the research team.

Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many acute psychiatric beds there(a) were in London in (i) 1992 and (ii) 1997 and (b) are; and what the occupancy rate mental health wards in the capital (1) were in (X) 1992 and (Y) 1997 and (2) are. [48863]

Jacqui Smith

Information on beds in wards designated as mental illness short stay/secure is given in the table.