HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc23-4
37. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Health whether he will hold an inquiry into responsibly made allegations, details of which have been sent to him, that a Birmingham hospital sent home an elderly and seriously ill patient without notifying his wife, who had set out to visit him, and thus caused him to be left in a neighbouring house until she got back again, with the result that he had to be dressed and had to walk to his own home in the snow; and whether he will also investigate and report on the associated allegations that these elderly people were not treated with the standard of kindliness and courtesy expected of the National Health Service.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I have already instituted inquiries and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as I am in a position to do so.

Mr. Chapman

How long is this to take, because the Minister has already had two or three weeks' notice? Is not this the sort of petty inhumanity which gives the Health Service a bad reputation? Would it not be better to clear up whether the allegations are true or not as quickly as possible?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Of course it is a good thing to get inquiries concluded as quickly as possible, but that is provided the inquiries are full, thorough and satisfactory. I am sure the hon. Member would not dissent from that.