HC Deb 28 February 1929 vol 225 c2176

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to an account of an inquest at the Court of the City Coroner, held on 18th February last, on a man found by a police constable starved and ill on the pavement outside Holborn Viaduct station; whether he is anti ire that the man was taken to St. Bartholomew's Hospital because there was an arrangement not to send cases to the City of London Poor Law Hospital after 9 p.m., and that the man was refused admission and taken elsewhere and there refused and then brought back to St. Bartholomew's, and then put into an isolated room and found dead on the floor at about 1.30 a.m.; can he state by what Poor Law authority this arrangement was made and when, and whether it was known to the Poor Law inspector or at the Ministry of Health; whether any similar arrangement exists elsewhere and, if so, where: whether he will inform the superintendents or masters of all Poor Law hospitals that they must admit all cases of starvation and exposure brought by police officers without any order from the relieving officer and whether he will revive the list of starvation cases which were published from about 1870 till 1918?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the second part there is not, and could not legally, be any arrangement preventing the admission of cases to the Poor Law infirmary of the City of London Union or any other infirmary during prescribed hours of the night. The arrangement made between the guardians and St. Bartholomew's Hospital is that where a bed is available at the hospital cases shall not be sent on to the infirmary during the night but shall be kept until the morning and then removed, and this arrangement seems to me a very proper one. If the patient had been sent to the infirmary he would have been admitted, as in fact I am informed that many other persons are admitted both by day and by night. As regards the last part of the question I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by a revival of the returns.