HC Deb 04 May 1900 vol 82 cc762-3
MR. STEADMAN (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. Howson, a probationary telegraphist in the Central Office, London, who was certified as unfit for duty by a doctor, and to the fact that the Post Office medical official disregarded this certificate, and compelled the clerk to duty, with the result that Howson was found in a fainting condition in the instrument gallery, and was removed by the superintendent to the medical department; whether, in spite of the protests of the superintendent, the medical officer declined to permit the patient to cease duty, and it was not until another application had been made, after a lapse of some hours, that Howson was permitted to leave the office; and whether the Postmaster General can state the reason of the non-acceptance of the private doctor's certificate, and the treatment of Mr. Howson after his superior officer had stated that the clerk was too ill to perform his duties.


The facts are as follows:—Mr. Howson wrote on the 20th of March that he was ill, and furnished a private medical certificate that he was suffering from debility with attacks of faintness, and required a few days rest. He was given leave until the 23rd, when he was seen by the official medical officer. That officer considered that in Mr. How-son's own interest he should try to take up his duty, which he did; but within a few hours he had two nervous attacks, and he was then put off duty and granted sick leave till the 27th of March. He then resumed duty for two days, when he was granted sick leave till the 2nd ultimo, on which date Mr. Howson was allowed to go on his annual leave. The medical officer states that he was suffering from simple nervous debility, brought on by over study at home.