HL Deb 06 May 1886 vol 305 c359

asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether the inquiry having reference to the death of an infant in Totnes Workhouse, arising from overfeeding, has taken place; and, whether Her Majesty's Government can now give the results of that inquiry?

LORD SUDELEY (for the Local Government Board)

, in reply, said, that the Local Government Board had made inquiries into the matter, and had been furnished with copies of the depositions taken before the Coroner and with a copy of a report of a committee of the Totnes Guardians appointed to investigate the circumstances. The Board found that the medical officer of the workhouse gave directions that the child, who was ailing, should receive a pint of milk daily, and no other food. The matron of the workhouse was unaware of these directions, and allowed the pauper attendant in care of the child, who was aware of the doctor's directions, but did not inform the matron of them, to give it baked flour, which it appeared to have been unable to digest. The dietary tables approved by the Board expressly provided that infants under two years of age should be dieted as directed by the medical officer, and the orders of the Board imposed on the matron the duty of consulting the medical officer in reference to the dietary of such children. The Board had, therefore, been obliged to say that they thought the action of the matron deserving of serious censure. As, however, the committee of the Guardians had expressed the opinion that the matron believed she was acting for the best, and had warned her to observe strictly the regulations of the Board, the Board had not taken any further action in the matter, beyond cautioning the matron to be more careful in the future.