HC Deb 19 February 1952 vol 496 cc10-1
12. Mr. F. A. Burden

asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been drawn to the unsatisfactory conditions at the Connaught Military Hospital for tubercular patients at Hind-head, Surrey; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Head

The accommodation at this hospital is not all that I should wish. If, however, it were not used, tubercular patients would have to wait for a bed in the limited general hospital accommodation elsewhere and would not have the advantage of early specialist treatment. Further improvements in the structure and amenities are in hand and I am satisfied that recent allegations about the conditions were much exaggerated. I would, should my hon. Friend wish it, gladly arrange for him to visit the Connaught Hospital.

Mr. Burden

Will by right hon. Friend take immediate steps to ensure that this hospital is cleaned up, in order not only that men there suffering from tuberculosis receive proper food and treatment, but that the cleansing of the verminous state of the place can be completed?

Mr. Head

Steps were in hand, and had been approved, before the allegations concerning this hospital were made. If my hon. Friend cares to go there now, I think he will find that conditions are nothing like those which have been portrayed rather sensationally.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton

Can the Minister give an assurance that the rats, mice and cockroaches which have infested the kitchens and other parts of this hospital have now been suitably disposed of?

Mr. Head

It would be wrong for me to go into the question of rats in too much detail but, even if rats are destroyed locally in a hospital, others will return if neighbours do not do the same thing. We are now attempting to have a large area of rat killing round this hospital.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to make sure that all military hospitals in the country are thoroughly looked at, because there is a very adverse effect on recruiting if the idea is about the country that these places are in a bad condition, even though it may not be as bad as people think?

Mr. Head

There is undoubtedly a good deal of work which remains to be done in Army hospitals. My hon. and gallant Friend will realise that this conflicts with the building and other works programmes and with the re-armament programme. It is not easy to do all that we should like to do, although a good deal of it is being done.