HC Deb 25 May 1903 vol 122 cc1623-4
MR CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

To ask the Lord Advocate if he will say how many parish councils in the crofting counties of Scotland have at present no parochial resident medical officer; and what steps are being taken in such parishes to secure medical attendance for the poor.

(Answered by Mr. A. Graham Murray.) Parish councils are bound to provide medical attendance for paupers. I am informed that all the parishes in the counties in question, with the exception of Gigha, have regularly appointed medical officers who reside either in or near the parishes for which they hold office. In the case of Gigha a doctor is employed by the parish council when necessary.


To ask the Lord Advocate if the Committee of the Scottish Local Government Board, who have been making inquiry into the subject of Poor Law medical relief, have also inquired into the grievances of the parochial medical officers in the highlands and islands of Scotland; and, if so, will he state what steps the Government proposes to take in the matter.

(Answered by Mr. A. Graham Murray.) The Committee in question is a Departmental one to inquire into and report on the methods and conditions under which Poor Law medical relief is at present administered in Scotland, and on what changes, if any, it is advisable to make in regard thereto, or in the regulations for distributing the sum contributed from the local taxation account to the cost of Poor Law medical relief and trained sick nursing, or in the rules and regulations for the management of poorhouses; and it is only incidentally, therefore, that the subject of the hon. Member's Question can come within the terms of reference. In any case the Committee not having reported it is not possible as yet to say what steps it may be the duty of the Government to take in the matter.


To ask the Lord Advocate if his attention has been called to the fact that certain parishes in the crofting counties have difficulty in procuring the services of a medical officer for any length of time; and, whether, in the interests of the poor, the Government intend to introduce legislation on the subject.

(Answered by Mr. A. Graham Murray.) I can only refer the hon. Member to my Answers to his previous Questions, and as in my reply to his second Question to add that it is not possible to promise any legislation in the matter at present.