§ Mr. MARCH
asked the Minister of Health whether he has had his attention called to a Report by the medical superintendent of the Oldchurch Hospital, 2089W Romford, that nearly 100 deaths occurred there within three weeks and that many of the lives might have been saved if it was not for the overcrowding; that the Romford Board of Guardians was waiting for the sanction of the Minister to enlarge the accommodation, but no approval has been received; and can he state the cause of the delay and what he is doing in the matter?
I have seen a Report by this officer in which he states, that some of these deaths which apparently occurred last month, could have been avoided had the guardians taken some notice of his repeated advice with regard to the lack of accommodation. Proposals for the provision of increased accommodation for cases of tuberculosis were submitted by the guardians in August of last year. After consultation with the Essex County Council, I came to the conclusion that the provision of additional wards of the ordinary hospital type was necessary, and the guardians themselves adopted this view in a letter addressed to me on 14th January last, when they made proposals for extensions at an estimated cost of £33,000. On 18th January I informed the guardians that I was prepared to consider the provision of additional hospital wards and on the 22nd instant a deputation of the guardians was seen by my officers. No detailed proposals had been submitted to me before the interview, but arrangements have now been made for the immediate discussion of the necessary plans between the guardians' advisers and my officers. There has been no delay on my part in dealing with any proposals of the guardians.