HC Deb 06 March 1933 vol 275 cc799-802
42. Mr. McENTEE

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the daughter of the late James Westbrook, No. 200,235, rifleman, 18th Battalion Rifle Brigade, owing to physical and other defects, is unable to earn her living, and having reached the age of 21 the allowance paid to her mother by the Ministry of Pensions has now ceased; and whether, in view of the circumstances, he will consider this and similar cases among those requiring special treatment?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)

I should have no authority to grant a further extension of the allowance in the circumstances of this case. On the general question which the hon. Member has in mind, I would refer him to the answer which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Barnard Castle (Lieut.-Colonel Headlam) gave on the 21st June last, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.


Has the Minister control of any special fund or any special institution from which a grant or treatment could be given in cases similar to this?


I will gladly see if there is any special fund to which this special case could be referred.


asked the Minister of Pensions what is the present policy of the Ministry with regard to the treatment in Liverpool of men whose minds were injured by war service; and whether in any cases such men have been transferred to lunatic asylums?

Major TRYO N

There has been no change in the policy of the Ministry with regard to the treatment in Liverpool or anywhere else "of men whose minds were injured by war service." I have no authority to detain or treat in a Ministry institution a certified case of mental unsoundness, but my own policy and that of my predecessors has been to provide suitable treatment in special institutions for all cases of mental affection for which the Ministry is responsible, so long as they are not certifiable. As a matter of fact, during the past 12 months, only one case had to be transferred in the Liverpool area to a mental hospital, and that was eight months ago. Any statement, such as I believe has recently been publicly made in Liverpool, to the effect that the policy of the Ministry was, in the interests of economy, to transfer men from Ministry institutions to lunatic asylums is wholly untrue and can only cause needless anxiety.


Can the Minister say what is the authority for this public statement?


The authority is that in the "Daily Herald" it was stated that they had an "exclusive revelation" on this subject from the Liverpool Secretary of the British Legion; and I may add that I have never seen so many untrue statements concentrated in a small space.

47. Mr. DONNER

asked the Minister of Pensions the intentions of the Ministry with regard to Maghull hospital, near Liverpool; and whether any patients are to be transferred to any other hospitals?


The accommodation provided at Maghull, near Liverpool, which is Crown property and has been used for the treatment of severe cases of epilepsy, has become increasingly in excess of the requirements of my Department and the institution is required by the Board of Control who are in a position to use it more advantageously for their own cases. I have accordingly arranged for the transfer of the patients now at Maghull along with the medical and nursing staff, to Chepstow, another Ministry hospital of more suitable size where equivalent accommodation will be provided.


Then there is no truth in the suggestion that the Minister of Pensions is trying to get rid of these patients from Ministry of Pensions hospitals?


No, Sir; this is another "exclusive revelation." These patients are being transferred from one Ministry of Pensions hospital to another Ministry of Pensions hospital.

48. Mr. DONNER

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the policy of the Ministry with regard to utilising hospitals under their control or, alternatively, transferring patients to civil hospitals as a measure of economy 7


It is the policy of the Ministry to utilise civil hospitals in preference to duplicating existing facilities so far, but only so far, as this practice is consistent with the interests of ex-service patients for whom the Ministry is responsible. Ministry hospitals are provided for various special types of case for which either civil institutions do not provide, or which can be more suitably dealt with in Ministry institutions. With the decline in demand for treatment some of the Ministry hospitals have necessarily had to be dispensed with, but my hon. Friend may rest assured that special accommodation will continue to be provided so long as it is needed.


asked the Minister of Pensions how many patients for whom he is responsible are at present being treated for war disabilities in civil hospitals in Liverpool; and what amount of accommodation exists in Mossley Hill hospital?


No patients for whom the Ministry is responsible are at present being treated in any Liverpool civil hospital for their accepted war disabilities. Patients requiring institutional treatment in Liverpool are ordinarily sent to the Ministry hospital at Mossley Hill, which has accommodation of 300 beds of which at present 255 are occupied.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the panel doctors have complained of lack of accommodation in the Liverpool hospitals?


No such complaints have been received, and there is no foundation whatever for newspaper statements to that effect.

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