HC Deb 07 November 1939 vol 353 cc43-5W
Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health whether evacuated non-school parties can be transferred to holiday camps or other suitable premises where attempts can be made to meet the social and communal needs of the evacuees?

Miss Horsbrugh

I assume that the hon. Member's question refers mainly to the priority group of mothers with young children. My right hon. Friend has suggested to local authorities that where billeting arrangements are not satisfactory the most suitable method may be to make use of empty houses as hostels. My right hon. Friend is also most anxious to develop communal activities amongst the evacuated mothers and is asking local authorities to consider further opportunities of developing such activities.

Mr. Groves

asked the Minister of Health what precise arrangement has been made by his Department and the British Medical Association with regard to the treatment of unaccompanied children in reception areas in view of the fact that a letter was sent from his Department to the Medical Practitioners' Union, dated 16th October, 1939, referring to the agreed terms with the association and another letter, also from his Department, on 27th October, stating that there was no formal agreement?

Miss Horsbrugh

The arrangements provide that, as from the date on which the Government evacuation scheme took effect, sums calculated at the rate of 10s. a year for each unaccompanied child transferred under the scheme will be paid to the local emergency medical committees, and from the funds so constituted payments will be made to medical practitioners on such basis, whether capitation or attendance, as may be found convenient. The amount paid covers the cost of attendance and the provision of medicines. The Medical Practitioners' Union were informed to this effect on 5th October. As the arrangements were embodied in a letter from my Department which was accepted by the association, they were rightly referred to as "agreed terms" although the agreement was not formal.

Colonel Baldwin-Webb

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that teachers are to be empowered to assess the ability of parents to contribute to the cost of billeting their evacuated children; and whether, in view of the close every-day connection of the teachers with both the parents and the children, he will state why this arrangement was made?

Miss Horsbrugh

I am aware of certain cases in which local authorities are making use for this purpose of the services of teachers who, owing to the evacuation, are temporarily not required for their usual school duties.

In directing local authorities to assist him in this matter my right hon. Friend has not thought it desirable to limit their discretion in the selection of officers to carry out the work.

Mr. John

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that at Colwyn Bay householders who cater for visitors have been told that at some unspecified date civil servants will be billeted upon them; whether in such cases it is expected that the billets be kept vacant pending the arrival of the civil servants; and who will pay for this?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware that a survey of the available accommodation has been made, but until such time as the billets are required, the householders are at liberty to take visitors.

Sir R. Aske

asked the Minister of Health whether, in cases of death of evacuated persons, the Government will make some payment or allowance to the relatives in respect of the additional funeral expenses and travelling expenses necessitated by the circumstances?

Mr. Elliot

Where the relatives of an evacuated person who has died in a receiving area are unable to meet the cost of the funeral, the local authority may arrange for and meet the cost of the burial in their area. In necessitous cases the fares of parents or husbands attending the funeral may be paid by the evacuating authority subject to recovery in appropriate cases. I am about to issue a circular to local authorities explaining these arrangements.