HC Deb 19 June 1888 vol 327 cc575-7
DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Under what circumstances are hospitals on board Transatlantic and foreign-bound passenger carrying steamers permitted to be used, and for what purposes other than hospital purposes; by what means can the Board prevent and detect infringement of its Rules on such vessels after the steamer has left port; on how many Transatlantic steamers are there dispensaries properly fitted up and apart from the hospital or surgeon's room; are precautions always taken that the hospitals are so situated that sick and injured can always, and in all weather, be readily taken there without undue risk or exposure, and do any Rules exist having regard to the location of such hospitals; and, are precautions taken by the Board of Trade Inspectors with respect to the relative positions of the surgeon's cabin and hospitals, that the latter shall be in every weather easy of access to the medical officer?


, in reply, said, he had no knowledge of any cases in which the hospital spaces in the vessels coming under the Passengers Act had been permitted to be used for other than hospital purposes; but in cases of emergency—such as the rescue of a crew and passengers of another ship—any space not required for patients might possibly be so utilized. The Board of Trade had no means of preventing or detecting infringements of its Rules after a vessel had left port; but if any evidence was brought to his notice which would justify a prosecution he would certainly act upon it. The Board of Trade had no power to institute any requirements as to the fitting up or situation of the dispensaries on the Transatlantic steamers; but he understood that the Rules laid down in the Passengers Act were complied with, and that dispensaries were so situated that patients could, in all weathers, be readily taken there without undue risk or exposure. He could give the hon. Member no information as to the relative positions of surgeons' cabin and hospitals. The Board of Trade had no power in the matter.


asked, with reference to the first portion of the right hon. Gentleman's answer, whether it was only under such circumstances as he had described that hospital accommodation would be used in these vessels?


said, that was his belief. He had made the best inquiry in his power into the matter, and he had told the hon. Member all he knew. He would promise the hon. Member that if any infringement that would warrant a prosecution were brought under his notice a prosecution would be at once begun.


explained that he had asked repeatedly this Question, in the hope that the Rules of the Board of Trade would be carried out; and he did it for the benefit of poor emigrants who could not possibly have time to get their grievances remedied themselves.


Order, order!


said, he did not at all complain of the hon. Gentleman's Question. He should be happy to have his attention called to any infringement of the Rules that occurred, and would do everything in his power to enforce the law.