HC Deb 31 July 1891 vol 356 cc1013-5

9. £9,447, to complete the sum for Hospitals and Charities, Ireland.

(12.40.) MR. SEXTON

I would like, in a few words, to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to state precisely the present condition of the public grants to hospitals in Dublin. The House allocates about £17,000 a year to this purpose, but when the Vote was first instituted, the circumstances of the hospitals were very different to what they are at present. Do the Government intend to deal next Session with the question of the apportionment of the grant? Is this grant of £17,000 to be administered for ever according to the circumstances which existed when it was originally given many years ago? The circumstances have largely changed, and the administration of the grants should be changed accordingly. A Bill to effect this was introduced two years ago, but was defeated at the instigation of a few interested medical men in Dublin who object to its provisions. It is very disappointing that the efforts which were made to bring about a better state of things should have been defeated by two or three individuals who thought that the compensation offered to them was not sufficient. I ask for a frank and definite undertaking from the right hon. Gentleman as to whether or not the Government will settle this question next year.


There is a considerable sum down here for several hospitals in Dublin, which are not merely Dublin hospitals, but Irish hospitals—for a good number of cases are sent up to Dublin from the country. It is, of course, necessary to have institutions of this kind in all countries, and I have no doubt the same state of things prevails in England. Cases are sent up from the country for special treatment, and it is very important that this system should exist, as there are classes of cases which require to be treated by experts, and which could not be dealt with in country hospitals or workhouse infirmaries. What I want the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to do is this—to alter the method by which patients are selected. There seems to be a systematic manner of making the selection. In Dublin itself there is a certain power of choice. The people there can go to the hospitals, and the Medical Authorities can choose from amongst them the cases to be treated. That, of course, cannot be done in the country districts. Then, in some cases, the Governors who subscribe 10 guineas a year, or even as low as two and three guineas, have the power of choosing patients. Well, I want the right hon. Gentleman to systematise the method of choosing the various patients. I think the hospitals should send to the Unions printed forms stating the number of beds vacant, the number of beds that each Union could fill, and the different classes of cases to be received. If the Unions had certain fixed powers of sending cases, they could interchange with each other, both as regards numbers and classes of cases. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will investigate this subject during the recess.

(12.46.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL

I would point out that the question is not quite so simple as the hon. Member for West Belfast seems to think. It is true the surgeons in Dublin were very active in opposing the Bill to which the hon. Member referred—and I think they made good their case—but I would point out that the opposition to the Bill affecting the Dublin hospitals is not confined to a few interested persons. The fact is, that if the Bill were carried several hospitals would be excluded from participating in the grant, and they not unnaturally object to that.


The question of the selection of country patients for treatment in the Dublin hospitals is not one with which the Chief Secretary can deal. The matter is in no way under his control. Possibly the Treasury might interfere, but I am not sure. The subject adverted to by the hon. Member for West Belfast calls unquestionably for attention, but it cannot be dealt with without exciting a great deal of controversy, as the interests involved are various and opposed. Until some agreement can be come to on the subject in Dublin itself, I fear that it will be useless for us to attempt to legislate with reference to it in this House. This may not be a satisfactory answer, but the hon. Member is as familiar as I am with Parliamentary Business, and he must see that legislation on such a subject as this would be impossible without a general concurrence.


I wish to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he can give any information as to the system under which country patients are selected for admission to Dublin hospitals?


I will make inquiry into the matter, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will be good enough to speak to me privately and explain exactly what his point, is.

Vote agreed to.

Back to
Forward to