HC Deb 16 November 1920 vol 134 cc1725-6W

asked the Minister of Health whether he has consulted the Association of Poor Law Unions regarding the proposed transfer of their hospitals to the county councils, under Clause 11 of the Ministry of Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill; how many beds are provided in Poor Law hospitals and infirmaries, in workhouses, and in separate institutions; how many of these beds were vacant on the 1st of March and the 1st of September, 1920, respectively; and whether accommodation will be reserved for the boards of guardians' needs in any hospitals or infirmaries to be transferred to the control or administration of the county councils?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. With regard to the second part of the question, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT such information as I have as to beds in Poor Law institutions. With regard to the last part of the question, a transfer would clearly not be approved if, as a result, persons who at present can obtain hospital treatment would suffer.

The following statement gives the information referred to:

Number of beds in Poor Law institutions of various kinds on the 1st January, 1920, according to returns supplied by the clerks to the guardians:

Separate infirmaries 35,264
Separate institutions for defectives and other special classes 3,368
Separate institutions for children 34,673
Other Poor Law institutions 204,995

Included in the above figures are 1,644 beds in children's institutions and 54,090 in "other Poor Law institutions" set apart for the sick.

In a certain number of cases beds were on the date of the return still in the hands of the military authorities, and have generally been excluded by the clerks in their statements.

The total number of unoccupied beds was, approximately, on 1st March, 107,000, and on 1st September, 112,000.