Mental Cases.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ex-Service Men. – in the House of Commons on 26th April 1923.

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Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

8.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to the following cases of disabled men transferred by his Department to the charge of the Poplar Board of Guardians, thus causing them to become paupers, namely: Arthur J. Robinson, age, 38, previously in the Navy 12 years, served in R. S. during the War, and 22nd July, 1918, admitted to Long Grove mental hospital from Napsbury war hospital; Joseph O'Gorman, age 42, enlisted 19th January, 1916, and 20th June, 1917, admitted to Claybury mental hospital from Napsbury war hospital; James McGeehan, age 47, no record of enlistment, 29th March, 1916, admitted to male observation ward, military hospital, Bethnal Green, 8th April, 1916, admitted to Claybury, and 19th June, 1918, transferred to service class; John Tighe, age 27, enlisted 23rd February, 1917, to Army Reserve, 12th May, 1917, 10th September, 1917, admitted to male observation ward, Poplar, 15th September, 1917, to Claybury, and 3rd April, 1918, transferred to service class; and Henry Damyon, Royal Engineers 12 years from 1896, in Canada for 11 or 12 years, enlisted in Royal Army Medical Corps, May, 1917, admitted to mental hospital in Scotland while still in Army, never sent, abroad, and at present resident in Brentwood mental hospital; whether he is aware of the fact that the Poplar guardians have refused to accept responsibility for these men, and have declined to pay anything towards the cost of their maintenance, or in any way to assist in branding these ex-service men as paupers; and will he, in consequence of this decision and others of a like character, reconsider his decision?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

These five cases have all been very carefully reconsidered recently by my medical advisers in connection with the special review, of which the hon. Member is aware. The result has been that the former decisions that the disability is unconnected with service have been confirmed in the cases of Robinson, McGeehan, Tighe and Damyon. In the remaining case of O'Gorman, it has been found possible to admit aggravation by service, and in that case my Department will, therefore, continue to bear the cost of the man's maintenance and institutional treatment. As regards the last part of the question, I am not prepared, as I have already stated, to accept the suggestion that my Department should be permanently responsible for ex-service men whose disabilities are not connected with their war service.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

What does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do when the boards of guardians up and down the country refuse to assist him in branding these men as paupers?

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

9.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that Private Thomas Hesaltine, No. 6/1496, Durham Light Infantry, joined the Territorial Force in 1912, served 203 days in France, being discharged in April, 1920; that on 30th April, 1922, he was admitted into the Durham County Lunatic Asylum and has since been classed as a pauper lunatic at a cost to the Poor Law of 280; and will steps be taken to treat this case otherwise than as that of a pauper?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

This man did no effective military service after July, 1916, when he was transferred to Class W Reserve. The mental condition appears not to have arisen until four years later, and, after full consideration, could not be connected with service. The decision of the Ministry rejecting the claim to pension has been confirmed by the tribunal, and is, therefore, final.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

Does the right hon. Gentleman say that this man's service in France would not have any effect on his mental condition, and is not the action of the Ministry simply throwing the expense upon the Poor Law guardians?