HC Deb 28 March 1923 vol 162 cc494-5

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Beatrice Bowey, formerly a patient in the Sunderland Mental Hospital, who died there on 18th March, 1922; is he aware that on 22nd February the acting medical superintendent referred to the prospect of her speedy recovery; that the husband received no intimation of his wife's change of health until summoned to find his wife dead; that the husband has made allegations of gross ill-treatment, starvation, and neglect, and of false reports having been made by the officials of the institution; that at an inquiry held on 26th June the inquiry committee did not call any of the nurses of the institution; and, in view of the distrust engendered by the refusal to call the best evidence, will the Minister of Health direct that a public inquiry be held as to the treatment of this patient in this institution?

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)

I have been fully informed of the circumstances of this case. I understand that the patient's condition deteriorated very rapidly and that she died quite suddenly. I am aware of the allegations made by the husband and of the procedure of The inquiry committee. The case has also been investigated by a Commissioner of the Board of Control, who has recently had a long interview with the husband and fully explained to him the whole of the circumstances of the case. I can find no evidence to support the allegations made in this case, and doubt whether any useful purpose would be served by the further inquiry suggested.