Local authorities must pay for the after care of psychiatric
patients following their discharge from compulsory detention in
hospital, the House of Lords has ruled.
Five law lords unanimously dismissed an appeal against an appeal
court decision two years ago, which followed action, brought by
Richmond, Redcar, Harrow and Manchester councils.
The appeal court had outlawed a practice under which councils
had charged psychiatric patients for their after care according to
their means. It held that long term hospital patients should not
pay any part of the cost of their accommodation after being
discharged into local authority residential homes.
The councils had claimed that under the provision of section 117
of the 1983 Mental Health Act they were under a duty to levy the
charges on discharged patients.