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The New Lunacy Act


The Lunacy Acts Amendment Bill, the passing of which even this year was at one time doubtful, received the Royal assent at the close of the Session, and became an Act of Parliament—to come into force May, 1890—which for good or for evil, probably both, will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects. The reference of the Bill to the Standing Committee on Law was the means of securing a calmer consideration of certain objectionable features, with the result that in some instances they were somewhat modified or entirely withdrawn. The essential principle of the Bill remained, however, unchanged. The most important concession had reference to the monstrous restrictions placed upon the admission of Single Patients into the houses of medical men, these restrictions being removed. The Medico-Psychological Association has, through its Parliamentary Committee, opposed from first to last the clause introducing these restrictions, which originally went so far as to forbid medical men to have insane patients of any description whatever in their houses. It remains to be seen how far medical men will avail themselves of the permission to have two patients in the house subject to the sanction of the Commissioners in Lunacy. As there are to be no fresh licenses for Private Asylums granted, there may in the future be a notable increase in the number of single and, as we must now say, double, patients. In fact, there may be “more than one other.” It is not a little amusing, and is surely the very irony of fate, that a Bill brought in with the avowed purpose of abolishing Private Asylums should deliberately introduce a clause, at the last moment, and under no pressure whatever from without, which restores Private Asylums to all intents and purposes, without a license, and, more important still, without the supervisory visitation required in the case of Licensed Houses. As we give in this number of the Journal an elaborate analysis of the new Act, it is unnecessary to do more than enumerate a few of its most important provisions.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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The New Lunacy Act

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