§ MR. GOSCHEN
asked the Secretary of the Poor Law Board, Whether the attention of the Board has been directed to the de- 166 fects alleged by the Commissioners of the "British Medical Journal" to exist in the Clifton and Bedminster Workhouse Infirmaries, and to the expressed desire of the guardians of Bedminster and Clifton that the state of those houses should form the subject of a formal Poor Law inquiry; and whether the Board propose to order such an inquiry?
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, the attention of the Poor Law Board had been directed to the statements made in the British Medical Journal respecting the two workhouse infirmaries in question. He thought the House would be of opinion that so expensive and protracted an inquiry as a formal investigation must needs be ought not to be ordered by the Poor Law Board without due consideration and without overwhelming necessity. He could only say that, as at present advised, the Poor Law Board did not intend to order any formal inquiry to be made in either case. With regard to Clifton, the correspondence was not quite closed, the demand for the inquiry came from the guardians, and the Board had every reason to believe that the condition of the infirmary was satisfactory. A correspondence was also still going on with regard to Bedminster. He might inform the right hon. Gentleman that, in addition to the ordinary Reports of the Inspectors which had been presented to the House, a Report upon the Bedminster Workhouse had recently been made to the Poor Law Board by their medical adviser, Dr. Smith, who in the autumn of last year was instructed to visit a number of workhouses, with a view of testing the Reports of the regular Inspectors. The Report of Dr. Smith would soon be laid on the tables of both Houses. Although the question was not absolutely decided, his impression was that a formal inquiry was not necessary in either case.