§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received any communication rethe case of a gentleman's son living near Manchester who enlisted as a private and was invalided on 15th February, 1916, to Maghull Military Mental Hospital owing to nerve strain attributable to the War; whether he is aware that on 7th May, 1916, he was reported by the doctor in charge to be1258W
progressing favourably and on the way to recovery; that about the end of May he was suddenly discharged from the Army direct to a pauper asylum at Prestwich without any intimation to his father; that the Central Army Pension Office on 26th June, 1916, granted a conditional pension of £1 a week for six months dating from 3rd June, and stated that the necessary instructions had been given to the asylum authorities, to whom the pension is paid direct, to classify this ex-soldier as a private patient; that his father, acting as petitioner under Section 72 (2) of the Lunacy Act, 1890, wrote on 8th July to the Lunacy Board of Control to apprise them of his intention to give directions for his son's discharge, and that the Lunacy Board replied that the father had the power of discharging his son if the payments were made through him; whether this reply is held to be correct; and, seeing that it is thereby implied that by the practice of making payments direct from pension office to asylum the petitioner is derived of his legal rights as next-of-kin under Section 72, will the authorities at the Home Deparment take steps to regularise the position in such cases, and to secure to petitioners of private patients the rights which they possess under the Lunacy Act, having regard
to the possibility that delay may prove very prejudicial to the patient?
As a general rule the Board of Control, in dealing with cases under Section 72 (2) of the Lunacy Act, 1890, regard the person who made the last payment on account of the patient as the person who should give direction for discharge, but in cases of this kind they will offer no objection to action being taken by the wife, father, or other next-of-kin, not- 1259W withstanding the fact that a pension has been paid by the Army Pay Office to the asylum authorities.