§ Mr. Gallacher
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the grow- 820W ing practice of discharging patients admitted to central London hospitals from peripheral emergency medical service hospitals, thus involving them in substantial fares from the point of discharge to their homes; and whether he will arrange for all such patients to be transported free of cost from the peripheral hospital to their admission hospital, prior to discharge?
It is right that patients transferred from central London hospitals to peripheral hospitals should, when ready for discharge, be discharged from the peripheral hospital. To return them to the hospital of admission would be of no advantage and would involve the inner hospitals in a great deal of unnecessary work. Instructions were, however, given to all hospitals soon after the beginning of the war that where a patient is transferred to a hospital some distance out, and payment of the fare home would involve serious hardship, the cost of the railway fare may be paid by the hospital and will be reimbursed by my Department. I am not aware of cases in which hospitals are failing to carry out this instruction and I should be glad to investigate any of which the hon. Member may have knowledge.