HC Deb 14 November 1912 vol 43 cc2120-1W

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the death of a woman, named Bridget Burk, who was found dying on the roadside by the police a few hours after her discharge from Stone workhouse; whether he is aware that evidence was tendered at the inquest to the effect that the woman had been turned out in spite of her statement that she was ill and wished to see a doctor; that the workhouse master refused information to the coroner's officer and tried to obstruct him in the execution of his duty; and what action, if any, he proposes to take to prevent similar occurrences at this workhouse in the future?


I have made inquiries with respect to this case, and I have seen reports of the evidence given at the inquest. The woman had voluntarily taken her discharge from the workhouse of the Stone Union in the morning of the day on which she was admitted to the Cheadle Workhouse Infirmary. The medical evidence showed that she was suffering from heart disease, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly. The allegation that, before her discharge, she had complained that she was ill and wished to see a doctor, appears to rest upon the statement of the police officer who took her to the Cheadle Workhouse, and is denied. Apart from this statement, I do not find any evidence that she complained to any officer at the Stone Workhouse, or to the medical officer who examined her, or the other officials at the Cheadle Workhouse. As regards the workhouse master at Stone, I understand that he gave the coroner's officer all the information asked for as soon as the latter disclosed who he was; that he attended the inquest and gave evidence, although not summoned, and that he has made a full report on the whole matter to the guardians, who have expressed themselves satisfied with his conduct.