HC Deb 27 November 1934 vol 295 cc657-8

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Alexander McLean, of North Osgaig, Raasay, who is bedridden, is 100 years of age, and hitherto has had 7s. 6d. of nursing expenses provided for her by a relative who is now unable to continue the allowance; if he is aware that the Skye district public assistance department has offered only 5s. weekly nursing allowance and, as an alternative, the Inverness County Council has suggested that the old woman should be taken to the poorhouse at Inverness; and whether he will make representations to the Inverness County Council on the matter?


According to the information I have received, Mrs. McLean is in receipt of an old age pension of 10s. per week, and resides with a married granddaughter. When application for assistance was made to the Skye District Council, the council considered that in her frail condition Mrs. McLean's best interests would be served by her removal to hospital, and offered to send her to the hospital wards of their institution at Inverness. This offer was refused, and the council then decided to pay 2s. 6d. per week as a nursing allowance, which was subsequently increased to 5s. per week. If Mrs. McLean is dissatisfied with this allowance, she has a statutory right to complain to the Department of Health on the grounds of the inadequacy of the relief.


Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the danger of re- moving a very aged person so far from home to an institution such as that at Inverness which has been suggested; and will he not reconsider the matter and give directions that the nursing facilities which were previously provided for her by a relative shall be continued?


I am sure that these matters must have been in the mind of the district council when they considered the matter. If Mrs. McLean is dissatisfied with the amount, she has a right of appeal.


Surely it is intolerable that a public assistance committee should suggest that a bedridden woman should be taken from the Island of Raasay by boat over to Inverness?


I am sure that those who advocated this course had regard to the best interests of this very old lady, and, after reading the papers this morning, I am sure that they gave her sad case every consideration.