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Mr. Milburn: No one is saying--and no one should say--that we can remove every risk: we cannot, but we can do a lot better. The 1,000 suicides and 40 homicides a year involving people who have been in contact with mental health services in the previous 12 months is hardly a catalogue of success. Indeed, it is a catalogue of failure for them, their families and the broader community.
We have a choice. Either we can stand back and do nothing, which is what the 1983 Act provides for, or we can take appropriate action. Of course we must get the balance right between protecting the patient and protecting the public, but we must get away from the idea that one necessarily runs counter to the other. The debate is not about that. The best solution is to offer the patient enhanced protection by introducing more safeguards and, at the same time, to better protect the public.
Mr. Jonathan Shaw (Chatham and Aylesford): I welcome the announcement, but will the measures cover child and adolescent mental health services? In particular, will they address the tragedies that occur in young offenders institutions where so many young people have lost or taken their lives?
Mr. Milburn: My hon. Friend will be aware that suicide is a major cause of death among young men. We need to take more action to improve our child and adolescent mental health services. We have begun to do that and we will do more in future. I can confirm that there are provisions to help safeguard the interests of children in the mental health services.
Mr. Roger Gale (North Thanet): I have a constituent in Holloway prison who, according to a ministerial reply today, is due for release on 28 December. Her father is desperately worried because she is a sick woman. She is a danger to herself and the public and could well cause injury or death to herself or someone else. There is no provision for her and she will be back on the streets of Thanet by the end of the year.
With respect to the Secretary of State, we do not need lectures on what has or has not been done in the past. The Government have been in power for three years and talked out a Bill that was promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) three years ago. Can the Secretary of State give us a sense of the Government's priority and tell us when the legislation, which I welcome, will be introduced?
Mr. Milburn: If the hon. Gentleman were in fairer mood he would concede that we are making progress on mental health services. He knows that when I became Secretary of State, I declared three clinical priorities--cancer, coronary heart disease and mental health services. I included mental health services because they deal with so many people and because there were so many gaps in provision when we came to office. The case that he describes justifies the measures announced today. People
Fiona Mactaggart (Slough): Like other hon. Members, I welcome the statement. However, I want to ensure that it is delivered properly. This morning, I had a meeting with SHOC--Slough Homelessness Our Concern--which works with homeless people in my constituency, especially those who have had a dual diagnosis. Those people are anti-social and will not use most care services because they find them difficult to relate to. Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that voluntary organisations such as SHOC, will be given a key role in delivering the strategy; otherwise, we will not be able to reach the parts that we need to reach?
Mr. Milburn: I agree with my hon. Friend. Mental health services are not the exclusive preserve of the national health service. They also involve social services, housing agencies and the criminal justice system. In addition, many voluntary and community organisations have an important role to play in every constituency, including mine and that of my hon. Friend. The strategy in the national service framework and today's White Paper is an all-inclusive approach that involves the voluntary and statutory sectors. Unless we get such organisations working more as one, the gaps in provision that hon. Members on both sides of the House have highlighted, will continue.
Mr. Bob Russell (Colchester): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to seek your guidance and draw to your attention and that of the House a matter that will be of interest and concern to all right hon. and hon. Members: impersonation of a Member of this House. A website has been set up in the name of Bob Russell MP. I assure you that it is not I who have set it up. Inquiries reveal that the website has been set up by a leading member of a political party in my constituency of which I am not a member. Can you guide Members on what can be done in a clear case of impersonation?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman has been in correspondence with me about this matter, but I am grateful to him for raising it as a point of order because it enables me to place on record my strong disapproval of what has occurred. I do not expect officers or employees of political parties to seek to register on the internet names of members of other parties with a view to misleading the public who seek access to such members' websites. I expect all political parties represented in this House to take steps to ensure that no such activity is undertaken by them or on their behalf.
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since you were kind enough to call me during Prime Minister's questions, this point of order can hardly be interpreted as a point of grievance. I ask you to reflect over Christmas whether when the House agreed that Prime Minister's Question Time should last for 30 minutes on a Wednesday it was envisaged that, for 18 minutes, there would be what one might call a Punch and Judy show between the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister? A Leader of the Opposition surely has rights to question the Government, but would it not be better if, when feeling strongly on an issue, he tabled a private notice question, which, given that it was tabled by the Leader of the Opposition, you as Speaker would probably hardly refuse?
As I say, this is not a point of grievance because I was lucky enough to be called at Prime Minister's questions. That is why I am emboldened to raise the issue now. Is it not unfair on other Members, who, heaven knows, have few opportunities to question the Prime Minister, that such exchanges should go on quite so long? I am not complaining in any way about the Speaker; I really am not. The issue is whether the right to ask six questions, which you inherited, with long statements from the Leader of the Opposition on his policy, comprises the right way of going about parliamentary scrutiny. Could you reflect on that over Christmas?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman will remember that I made a statement before Prime Minister's Question Time recently in which I asked for short, sharp questions and short, sharp replies. I will not answer all the hon. Gentleman's points except to say that I am keen to be able to call more Back Benchers on both sides of the House during Prime Minister's Question Time. That might help the hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I have no control over political parties, but all Members of Parliament know where their duties lie in respect of personal pecuniary interests: it is each hon. Member's duty to record such interests.
Dr. Nick Palmer (Broxtowe): Further to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Russell), Mr. Speaker. Do you agree that it is also undesirable for groups associated with a political party to attempt to hijack the websites of other political parties, as has happened in respect of www.newlabour.co.uk, which has been hijacked by a group of Conservatives? [Laughter.]
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, supported by Mr. Secretary Darling, Mr. Secretary Byers, Mr. Andrew Smith, Dawn Primarolo, Mr. Stephen Timms and Miss Melanie Johnson, presented a Bill to make provision about the payment of National Insurance Contributions in respect of share options and similar rights obtained by persons as directors or employees during the period beginning with 6th April 1999 and ending with 19th May 2000: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed. Explanatory notes to be printed. [Bill 8].