§ MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his 1894 attention has been drawn to the following passage in the last Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners in Lunacy (Appendix C, page 215), with reference to the Banstead Asylum—Applicants for discharge were also a legion during our visit. On this point we could only refer them to the Committee (having ourselves no power in the matter), and were then too often answered that they never had an opportunity of speaking to the Committee. Doubtless this answer is beyond the truth, but we fear that the changes incident to recent legislation have interfered with the regular visitation of the wards by the Asylum Committee;and whether, in view of this serious testimony, he will consider the desirability of taking away the duty of visiting the asylums in the county of London from the London County Council, and restoring it to the Justices, or of handing it over to the Metropolitan Asylums Board?
§ * MR. RITCHIE
My attention has been drawn to the passage referred to in the Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy with reference to the Banstead Asylum. I have been in communication with the London County Council on the subject, and the Chairman of the Asylums Committee of the Council, who is also chairman of the Banstead Asylum Sub-Committee, states as follows:—The date of the Report in question is October 26th, 1889. The County Council took over the Asylums in the previous July. Therefore, these were early times to report on. I have been on the Banstead Committee of Management without a break for 10 years, formerly as a Justice, latterly as a County Councillor; and have been at every fortnightly meeting in all those years, except, perhaps, three or four. I am sure the County Councillors have visited the wards and interviewed the patients more frequently and more thoroughly than the Justices did. There has never been a break in the regular statutory visitation; and every fortnight some of the Committee inspect some of the wards and interview some inmates.I see no ground for proposing that the duty of visiting the Asylums in the County of London should be taken away from the London County Council.