§ Lord NINIAN CRICHTON-STUART
asked the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been called to the condition of six children sent from the Poor Law school of the Strand Union to the Anerley Poor Law district schools; if he is aware that these children, two of whom had been in the Strand Union school for two years, two for over one year, and one, a boy of twelve, who is four feet one inch in height and weighs only three stone thirteen pounds, for over four years, were all suffering from acute ophthalmia, had been so suffering for periods ranging from 1909 to not later than 1910, were refused admission to the Anerley schools, and were removed to the Metropolitan Asylum Board ophthalmic hospital; if he will ascertain whether these children were suffering from ophthalmia on their admission into the Strand school and whether any other children maintained there are suffering from ophthalmia; and, in that case, whether he will order an inquiry into the condition of the school and why these children are not sent to the Metropolitan Asylum Board ophthalmic school for treatment directly the disease is discovered?
The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Bums)
My attention was called to a newspaper paragraph on this subject, and one of my inspectors has made careful inquiry into the matter. The paragraph appears to have been somewhat inaccurate. It is not certain that the boy referred to is twelve years old, and there seems no ground for any suggestion that he has been badly nourished or that his health has suffered. I am informed that there is no suggestion that the six children had been suffering from acute ophthalmia. 1911 since 1909, though one had had ophthalmia before he went to the Strand schools in December of that year. The others, with one exception, are stated to have been healthy on admission, and there is no record of their having suffered from this disease while they were there. The guardians of the Strand Union, as a result of the statement in the newspaper, obtained a report on the condition of the children at their schools by an independent ophthalmic surgeon, who states that the result of his examination "was distinctly satisfactory; there was only one case of really severe ophthalmia, and of the others that were in any way affected only a very few were anything but quite trivial cases." He also reports that the general health and appearance of the children impressed him very favourably. It rests with the medical officer of the schools to send to the Asylums Board Ophthalmic school all cases that require treatment, and I understand this is habitually done.