HC Deb 15 April 1913 vol 51 cc1799-801
31. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been called to the case of Frank Humphreys, of 55, Richmond Road, an insured person suffering from phthisis, who was recommended for treatment in hospital in October, 1912; is he aware that on 30th October he was offered a bed at Mount Vernon Hospital at twenty-four hours' notice; that he was unable to accept the offer because he found it impossible to make any arrangements for his wife and child; that early in November his employer offered to allow £1 weekly to enable him to go to hospital; that Dr. Latham immediately notified the London Insurance Committee and the local medical adviser, and made an appeal for instant admission to hospital; that on 10th December Dr. Latham was asked by the local medical adviser of the London Insurance Committee to forward suggestions as to treatment, and at once replied, urging, for the good of the patient and the prevention of infection of the wife and child, an immediate removal to hospital; that on 2nd January the local medical adviser replied that Dr. Latham's report was being considered, and that in the meantime the home treatment was to continue; and that, in the second week of January, the patient died at home; and can he give any assurance that there will be no repetition of the delays which have characterised the attitude of the authorities in this and other cases?


The insured person in question applied for sanatorium benefit, as stated, in October last. He was examined by the medical adviser to the committee, who reported that the case was "too advanced for probability of cure or arrest." The committee, however, decided to recommend him for sanatorium benefit, and, although institutions are usually unwilling to accept cases so advanced as this had already been reported to be, made arrangements for his admission to Mount Vernon Sanatorium. He was sent an order of admission accordingly on 29th October. It is not the case that he was required to enter within twenty-four hours. The insurance committee were informed four days later that the patient refused to enter the institution, and they thereupon arranged for him to be treated at home. On a further communication from the doctor the committee consulted with the authorities of both Mount Vernon Sanatorium and the City Road Hospital, but both institutions decided that the case was too advanced to be suitable for admission. The hon. Member will therefore see that so far from there being any foundation for the suggestion in the last part of his question, the insurance committee took every possible step to provide the best form of treatment for a patient who was reported when he first applied for the benefit to be already in so advanced a stage of the disease that there was no probability of cure or arrest.

Sir J. D. REES

May I ask whether the attitude of the authorities is due to the fact that sanatorium benefit is practically non-existent in London?


Obviously, the first part of the answer shows that that is not so.