HC Deb 02 May 1955 vol 540 cc1335-6
31. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health why John Kitson, aged 10, who was admitted to Hampstead General Hospital on 30th March with a fractured and dislocated arm, received no medical attention for more than six hours, during which time he was offered neither food nor a sedative.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am very much afraid that the facts are as stated and it is clear that the hospital staff failed grossly in providing proper attention. On behalf of the board of governors and myself I must apologise to the child's parents. I assure them that the board take a serious view of the whole incident and that those responsible have been severely reprimanded.

Mr. Robinson

Whilst I welcome the admission by the Minister of the responsibility of the board of governors for this matter, and of course accept his assurance of regret, does he not agree that the public has been led to expect that the teaching hospitals should set a standard of conduct in these matters, and does that not make the incident even more deplorable?

Mr. Macleod

No doubt that is true. I am bound to say that the only thing I welcome about this issue is that the hospital at once, frankly admitted an error. As we know, errors happen in the hospital service. I deeply regret that this should have happened, and my views have been put very strongly to those concerned.

Mr. Hastings

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it quite clear it is his desire that at every general hospital there should be medical cover throughout the 24 hours and that so many doctors should not live away from their work as at present?

Mr. Macleod

It is certainly desirable that, wherever possible, cover should be provided, if not on a 24-hour basis, at least urgently and near.