HC Deb 28 April 1910 vol 17 cc769-70W

asked the President of the Local Government Board, with reference to the payment of the medical practitioner called in on emergency under the Midwives Act, whether this payment is being made in some places by the local sanitary authority, under Section 133 of the Public Health Act, and in others by the board of guardians, under Section 2 of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1848; whether any such payment has been disallowed by the district auditor; whether the Law Officers of the Crown have advised that a board of guardians has any authority, in the absence of an application for parochial relief, to make any payment otherwise than under Section 2 of the above-mentioned Act of 1848; whether, when the payment is made under that section, the board of guardians is entitled to recover the amount from the patient or her husband; whether he is aware that some boards of guardians are attempting to recover the amount disbursed under these circumstances, to the great hardship of poor persons; and whether he will make publicly known the fact that boards of guardians are not legally entitled to recover such sums?


I understand that in two or three cases payments of the kind referred to have been made by the local sanitary authority under Section 133 of the Public Health Act, 1875, and I believe some boards of guardians have made similar payments under Section 2 of the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1848. I do not find that any such payments have been disallowed by the District Auditor. I have not found it necessary to consult the Law Officers of the Crown on the subject, but I may say that the Board are advised that payments to medical practitioners under Section 2 of the Act of 1848 in such circumstances as are here in question, could not be recovered as relief on loan. My attention has only been called to one case of complaint that the guardians were unduly pressing for repayment. The question of my hon. Friend and my reply will no doubt give publicity to the matter, and it does not appear to me to be necessary to adopt the course suggested in the last part of the question.


asked the President of the Local Government Board whether, under the Midwives Act, 1902, or under any rules made thereunder, it is obligatory on a midwife to notify a medical practitioner that his attendance is in certain abnormal cases required; and whether, in the event of payment of such practitioner by the local authority, such payment is deemed to be parochial relief?


Under Rule 18 of the rules framed by the Central Midwives Board, and approved by Order in Council of 24th April, 1907, it is the duty of the midwife, in certain specified circumstances of danger, to represent to the husband or the nearest relative or friend of the patient that a medical practitioner should be summoned, and to fill in the requisite form to that effect. The question whether payments made by a local authority would be parochial relief will depend largely on the circumstances of the case.