§ 41 Mr. E. Fletcher
asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet investigated the cause of the fire at the Dellwood Maternity Home, Reading, on 18th April; and whether he is satisfied that all possible steps were taken to save the lives of the 13 babies who died as a result of the fire.
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Iain Macleod)
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, North (Mr. F. M. Bennett) on 29th April. I understand, however, that the regional board's committee of inquiry met yesterday for the first time.
§ Mr. Fletcher
Would the Minister say that the inquiry will not be limited merely to the cause of the fire, but will also extend to subsequent events, and, in particular, will deal with the question of whether all proper steps were taken to save the lives of the babies who, unfortunately, died?
§ Mr. Mikardo
Will the right hon. Gentleman also see that among the matters inquired into is the length of time which elapsed before the discovery of the fire and the last time any member of the staff had gone in to look at the babies, and whether that lapse of time was inordinately long?
§ Mr. Macleod
I am certain that that is one of the matters which will be inquired into. I am equally certain that we should not jump to conclusions either way until we have the evidence.