§ 63. Mr. T. Johnston
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can give any explanation as to why the general weekly rate for patients at the Dundee Royal Asylum is 5os., whereas at Montrose Royal Asylum the weekly rate is 21S. 6d.; and why the weekly cost of patients in lunatic wards of poorhouses should vary from 8s. 5d. in Buchan to 25S. 8d. in Govan?
The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Wedderburn)
The rates mentioned are minimum rates. The Dundee Royal Asylum is a relatively small institution, catering for a limited class of patient, whereas Montrose Royal Asylum caters for a wider range. With regard to the second part of the question, lunatic wards of poorhouses are generally intended to accommodate persons who are not dangerous and who do not require curative treatment such as may be needed in an asylum. The Govan Poorhouse, however, which is known as the Southern General Hospital, is run on hospital lines, with much more expensive equipment and staffing, and the lunatic wards there, which have facilities for treating cases which might otherwise require to be sent to an asylum, approximate more closely than in any other poorhouse to conditions in district asylums.
§ Mr. Johnston
May I ask whether the Secretary of State for Scotland is satisfied with the great disparity in costs which are observable in the general report of the Board of Control?
I can only answer the question on the Order Paper. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put down another question if he desires further information.
§ 64. Mr. Johnston
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can give any explanation of the disparities in the costs of providing butter in the district asylums of Scotland, in view of the fact that the cost is 4s. 9d. in Aberdeen, 29 18s rod. in Argyll, 4s. 6d. in Edinburgh, and 19s. 5d. in Perth?
Butter and margarine are used in varying proportions in the different district asylums, and accordingly where a large porportion of butter is used the cost under that head is high and the cost of margarine correspondingly low, and vice versa. In Perth the amount of margarine used is nil and in Argyll almost nil, whereas in Aberdeen and Edinburgh the cost per head for margarine is 8s. 7d. and 12s. 5d. respectively. It rests with local authorities to decide to what extent butter or margarine should be included in the dietary of asylums.
§ Mr. Johnston
Have the Scottish Office or the Secretary of State for Scotland no power whatever to encourage the use of butter as against margarine in these institutions?
No, Sir; that is a matter for the local authority. The General Board of Control states that in their view the dietary is generally satisfactory.