MR. MELLOR (York, W.R., Sowerby)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the board of guardians of the Taunton Union several months ago appointed an imbecile pauper as night nurse to more than 60 invalids in the workhouse infirmary; and that recently, in spite of the remonstrance of the poor law inspector, they have again by a majority made a similar appointment of a person certified to be an imbecile; and whether he will take such steps as he can to see that the unfortunate persons in the infirmary are treated with reasonable care and humanity?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. CHAPLIN,) Lancashire, Sleaford
The number of patients in the Taunton Workhouse Infirmary ranges from 60 to 70. There are two paid nurses for the infirmary, but this is considered by the Local Government Board to be insufficient, and the guardians have been urged to appoint a third paid nurse. At a recent meeting of the guardians it was decided by 22 votes to 20 not to appoint an additional officer, on the ground that the greater number of the patients were old and infirm cases only, and that the serious cases were comparatively few. I hope, however, that the guardians, on reconsideration, will appoint a third nurse. It is not the fact that an imbecile pauper has been appointed nurse; but the inspector of the board found that a wards-woman, in a ward with seven beds, whose duty it would be to summon the nurse when necessary, was a certified imbecile. I regret that an arrangement so obviously improper should have been made, and I have requested that it may be at once discontinued.