HC Deb 23 February 1922 vol 150 cc2072-3
11. Lieut. - Colonel SPENDER CLAY

asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to the hardship which the contemplated removal of the Shepherd's Bush Hospital to other quarters would entail on out-patients attending the hospital; what action he proposes to take to assist such cases; and whether the saving which it is anticipated would be the result of the change would be almost entirely wiped out by the cost of removal and allowances to out-patients?


In selecting alternative accommodation for out-patient treatment, full regard is being paid to the convenience of the pensioners, and I do not anticipate my difficulty in making satisfactory arrangements. The estimated cost of the removal from Shepherd's Bush, which I gave my hon. and gallant Friend last Thursday, includes the cost of providing suitable out-patient accommodation.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the remarkable efficiency of the electrical appliances, and is it intended to scrap all of them or remove them?


All these appliances will be removed.

Captain Viscount CURZON

Is it the fact that, as stated in the Press, the treatment of out-patients cannot proceed so satisfactorily as at present if the hospital is removed?


My medical advisers tell me that it can.


In view of the strong feeling that exists with reference to this hospital, would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to reconsider this matter should he receive a more moderate demand from the Guardians?


Yes, Sir, the desire of the Ministry has always been to maintain this hospital, and even now I am prepared to consider a modified proposal from the Guardians. It must, however, be made at once; I cannot keep the fate of these men hanging in the balance.

Viscount CURZON

Is it the fact that the action taken by the Guardians necessitates the removal of this hospital?


Yes, Sir, without a doubt; it is a question of rent. I pressed them very hard, and have been negotiating with them for a long time, and I know the value of the hospital. In my judgment it is one of the great assets of the Ministry of Pensions, and I am anxious to keep it, but I refuse to be blackmailed. They are asking a rent which I think is wholly unjustifiable.