HC Deb 13 December 1928 vol 223 cc2317-9

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the death of an ex-service man who arrived at the Newhaven institution on 18th August last at 6.0 p.m. and died shortly after 6.30 p.m.; whether he is aware that the death was stated by the coroner and the medical officer to have been due to a cardiac attack brought on by over-exertion; that the over-exertion was due to the man walking 14 miles over a hilly road from the Eastbourne casual ward to Newhaven and helping his wife to push a perambulator; that he was seen near the Newhaven institution to be staggering and ill; what food was given him while in the Eastbourne casual ward, and what food was given him, his wife, and child for the journey; whether on the journey there were any and, if so, how many relieving officers or other Poor Law officers whose duty it would have been to have relieved him if he had applied; how many parishes lie between Eastbourne and Newhaven; whether any report on this death has been made to the Ministry by the guardians or the inspector; and whether he will supply more opportunities between Eastbourne and Newhaven and wherever casual wards are more than 10 miles apart for persons in sudden and urgent necessity to obtain relief?


My attention has not previously been drawn to this case and I am reminding the medical officer of the institution of his duty to report to me any sudden or accidental death occurring in the institution. No inquest was held, the coroner being satisfied on the statements made to him and the certificate of the medical officer, that there was a history of malaria which had brought on cardiac degeneration and that the deceased died of angina pectoris, and that he had no ground to suspect neglect on the part of any official. The heart attack followed the exertion of walking from Eastbourne to Newhaven, but I have no information as to his pushing a perambulator or being seen in the condition suggested outside the Newhaven institution. The man was seen by a medical officer at Eastbourne and would have beer advised to remain there if he had shown any signs of disease. He received the usual dietary and on discharge the usual allowance of lunch. He passed through the districts of two relieving officers. There are six parishes between Eastbourne and Newhaven. I do not see any necessity for such action on my part as is suggested in the last part of the question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these people do not know where the relieving officers are to be found and that if there had been some other ward at a less distance than 14 miles this life might have been saved?


I do not think that there is any evidence to show that that would have been so.


As this was an ex-service man who apparently died owing to an attack of malaria, was he in receipt of a service pension?


I do not know.