HC Deb 27 January 1944 vol 396 cc849-51
42. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that 14304913 Craftsman Staines, R.E.M.E., was discharged from a hospital, of the identity of which he has been informed, instructed to rejoin his unit several hun- dred miles away, and obliged to walk four miles to the nearest town, although he had been in bed for 10 days with acute bronchitis and complained that he was still unfit; that on arrival at the town he was taken seriously ill and found to be suffering from pleurisy; and if he will take steps to ensure adequate inspection of all patients in this hospital before discharge.

Mr. Willink

I have obtained a report on this case which does not bear out the facts stated in the Question, and I will, with permission, circulate a summary of it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. With regard to the last part of the Question, I have no evidence that it is not the practice at the hospital to examine patients adequately before discharge.

Mr. Driberg

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that it is not disputed that, within an hour or so of being discharged as fit, although he complained that he was still unfit, this man collapsed with pleurisy?

Mr. Willink

I think my hon. Friend had better wait until he sees the facts as I understand them to be.

Mr. Kirby

Is it not a fact that our hospitals are so full that nearly all patients are discharged before they are cured?

Mr. Willink

No, Sir.

Mr. Gallacher

If this man actually had pleurisy, will the Minister see that he does not have to go back to the unit, as pleurisy is a very serious matter?

Mr. Willink

This man was not found to have pleurisy.

Mr. Driberg

He was certified by a doctor as having had it.

Following is the summary:

The report shows that, although the patient was in hospital for ten days, he was not at any time during that period more than slightly ill; that for several days before discharge he had been up all day; that on the day when he was to be discharged to his unit he asked and was granted leave to visit his home in the neighbouring town 2½ miles away, to which there is a bus service; that when leaving the hospital he complained of a sore throat but he had no temperature, and was not then seen by a medical officer, having been seen by medical officers on the two previous days; that on the day after he arrived home he was reported to be unwell, and was at once re-admitted to hospital, when he was found to have some rise of temperature and a sore throat, but no pleurisy as alleged; that these conditions soon improved, and that he was then transferred to a convalescent depot.