HC Deb 31 October 1929 vol 231 cc338-9W
76. Sir C. OMAN

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the case of an indigent wayfarer found dead on the road from Oxford to Chipping Norton on 4th October, on whom the coroner's jury found a verdict of death from exposure; and what is the distance between the Oxford and Chipping Norton casual wards, where alone he could have found shelter for the night, the Woodstock ward having been closed in 1927?


My attention has not previously been drawn to the case referred to by the hon. Member but I am having inquiries made. The distance between the Oxford and Chipping Norton casual wards is 19 miles and the Woodstock ward lies on a direct route between them, eight miles from Oxford. I may say that sanction to the closure of Woodstock casual ward was given in July, 1928, by my predecessor, who at the same time pointed out to the Guardians that the sanction did not relieve the Guardians of their statutory responsibility of affording relief to destitute wayfarers and that the Guardians must be prepared to relieve in the institution any destitute person applying for relief and unable to proceed to the next casual ward.


asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to an account of a meeting of the Woodstock Board of Guardians held on or about 18th October, when the master reported that a man, admitted in a state of complete collapse, stated that he was ordered medicine and a day's rest at the Oxford casual ward, was given no medicine, but was given a day's rest and discharged next morning; whether he is aware that a Woodstock guardian stated at this meeting that this was not the first time this had happened, and that the Woodsock medical officer said it was extraordinary how the man reached Woodstock, for when he saw him after a night's rest his heart was in a very bad state; whether he will ask one of his medical inspectors to obtain detailed reports from both the Woodstock and Oxford doctors as to the condition of the man and as to the remedies they gave; to inquire of the superintendent nurse at Oxford if, when, and by whom medicine was given to the man, and to ask the Oxford doctor whether he saw the man after his first visit; and whether he sanctioned his discharge?


I have seen a newspaper report of this matter. I am having inquiries made and will communicate with my hon. Friend.