HC Deb 03 July 1883 vol 281 cc179-80

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware that the workhouse hospitals are in many districts the only similar institutions available for paying patients and people in well-to-do circumstances, who are suffering from infectious diseases; whether he is also aware that there are powers of compulsory removal of such persons from their homes under certain circumstances; whether it is a fact that all persons, except the men of the Royal Irish Constabulary, are compelled to wear the workhouse uniform, provided by the Guardians, whilst in hospital, and that great exception is taken to this by paying patients; and, whether, taking these facts into account, with a view to check the spread of infection, by removing every obstacle to such persons going into hospital, he would urge the Local Government Board to modify their rules in this respect?


The facts are as stated in the first two paragraphs of this Question. With regard to the dress of patients, the present practice has been in force since the year 1862. Boards of Guardians were then advised by the Local Government Board that persons in fever hospitals ought not to be allowed to wear their own clothing, in order to prevent the danger of infection when they returned to the neighbourhood in which they lived, but that a simple form of hospital dress, having nothing in common with the ordinary workhouse dress, should be provided. The Local Government Board believe that in some instances Guardians relax this rule in the case of the Constabulary and other paying patients; but they regard this relaxation as very objectionable. They think that persons returning to their own homes in the dress they have worn in hospital are likely to spread infection. This opinion appears to be well founded; and I fear, therefore, that any change in the regulations such as is suggested by the hon. Member would not be likely to tend towards the restriction of the spread of infection.