§ 1. Mr. Janner
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, following a bus accident in Twickenham recently which resulted in people being taken to the West Middlesex Hospital, the names of the injured were not released to the newspapers until more than two hours had elapsed since their admission; and whether, in view of public anxiety over such accidents, he will ask all hospitals to give such information without delay.
The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Sevan)
Full particulars were given to Press representatives within half an hour after the last casualty was admitted to hospital. Hospitals have already been asked to give particulars of accident casualties to the Press as quickly as possible.
§ Mr. Keeling
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is not really in the interests of anybody except ambulance-chasers that this information should be published in the Press before it is given to relatives; and that in any case, it is not suitable for the hon. Member to interfere in a constituency 100 miles from his own?
§ Mr. W. R. Williams
Will my right hon. Friend give the fullest possible publicity to the reply which he has given today, in view of the high regard in which the administration of this hospital is held in my constituency and in adjacent constituencies?
§ Mr. Janner
While not making any reflection upon the hospital itself, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he agrees that it is highly essential that in cases where relatives are living some distance from the accident and are not aware of the accident, they should have the information as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Bevan
That is an entirely different issue. The question here is whether the hospital had provided the Press with a report as reasonably early as possible. The answer is "Yes." The Press report, I think, was erroneous in the matter. In any case, I would much prefer them to be a little delayed in that, and let the relatives know first.