§ 30. Mrs. Castle
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why Mrs. Fenney, of Blackburn, has been refused a home confinement grant.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)
The home confinement grant could not be paid because the hon. Lady's constituent had her baby in hospital. She did not satisfy the special conditions under which the grant may sometimes be paid, when the baby is born in hospital.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the hon. Lady aware that Mrs. Fenney went into hospital on her doctor's orders purely for the delivery of the baby and that she left the hospital the day after the birth? The result is that she incurred all the normal expenses of a home confinement. Is the hon. Lady further aware that the nursing profession thinks that the present regulations operate very harshly in these cases of short stay in hospital? Will she not, therefore, amend the regulations so as to make the home confinement grant payable in every case where the mother spends no more than 48 hours in hospital?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I will consider what the hon. Lady says, but I am a little wary of setting yet another arbitrary limit into these special regulations. If we did that, then every case which stayed one hour over the 48 would also have considerable ground for complaint. Our experience of the emergency regulations shows that a number of factors work quite arbitrarily as to the exact time of discharge.