§ 96. Mr. R. RICHARDSON
asked the Minister of 'Health whether his attention has been called to the fact that it is the practice of Poor Law guardians, after an inmate has been detained for three years in an asylum, to dispose of his or her property, including gold rings and other valuable belongings or articles personally precious to the owner, in order that the proceeds may be applied to the cost of the inmate's maintainance; and will he have investigations made into this practice or, alternatively, legislation introduced to prevent a state of things so prejudicial to these inmates?
I am not aware of the existence of any such practice as 1521 is suggested in the question, but I should be glad to inquire into any particular case which the hon. Member may have in his mind.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
May I make a request to the Minister that the belongings of these patients should be given to their relatives on their entry to the hospital?
§ 97. Mr. RICHARDSON
also asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that a lady, T. C., a past inmate of Hanwell mental hospital, has been refused all her previous correspondence, books, diaries and testimonials of 15 years' nursing career, together with many other valuable belongings; and will he state upon whose authority this has been done and take measures to put a stop to such practice in the case of inmates who have been incarcerated for more than three years in asylums?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Inquiries are being made in regard to the matter.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will ask the authority to give up to the relatives of this lady such things as clothing and trinkets, which have been retained for a very long period, and which are absolutely necessary. I would also ask that the Minister should be good enough to remember that these people's—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]—belongings, clothing, etc., are useless to them on their discharge after such long periods of detention?