Hospital Treatment (Scottish Cases).

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 22nd March 1928.

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Photo of Dr Thomas Shiels Dr Thomas Shiels , Edinburgh East

4.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will consider the advisability of returning to Scotland the 105 Scottish disabled ex-service men at present under treatment in various hospitals in England, so that they may be near their own people and have all the necessary medical treatment?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

I would remind the hon. Member of the answer which I gave him on the 1st instant. Wherever treatment near the man's home can suitably be arranged, such is and will be given, but I could not advisedly, or in the interests of the patients themselves, adopt the course suggested in all cases, in view of the varied types of disease and the highly specialised character of the treatment required by them which is given in the existing centres.

Photo of Dr Thomas Shiels Dr Thomas Shiels , Edinburgh East

Does not the Minister agree that we have in Scotland very highly-skilled medical men who are able to deal with all of these cases, and that these men would be happier being treated at home in Scotland than they are exiled in England?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

It is not a question of medical skill alone; it is a question also of available hospitals.

Photo of Mr James Couper Mr James Couper , Glasgow Maryhill

May I ask what is the real difficulty in removing these patients to institutions in their own country?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

The 105 cases referred to in the question are not such as could be received in ordinary civil hospitals, nor would it be possible to place them all in one institution. Separate hospitals for each type of case would be required, each of which could therefore have only a very small and dwindling number of patients. This would be neither practicable nor in the interests of the pensioners.

Photo of Dr Thomas Shiels Dr Thomas Shiels , Edinburgh East

Does the right hon. Gentleman say that no proportion of these ex-service men could be returned to Scotland, and suitably treated there?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

These men are only in England in order that they may avail themselves of special types of treatment in our hospitals. I do not think it would be reasonable or practicable to start four or five separate new hospitals in Scotland in order to deal with the very small number of cases that are now being dealt with in England—a number which is not only small, but dwindling.

Photo of Dr Thomas Shiels Dr Thomas Shiels , Edinburgh East

Is it not the case that the list which the right hon. Gentleman gave to me the other day did include a number of cases of a kind normally treated in the hospitals in Scotland?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

No, Sir; a large proportion of them could not be accepted in civil hospitals. To take an example, the 27 borderline cases could not be treated at Craigleith.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Have any of these ex-service men been undergoing treatment for a long time?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

Yes, Sir; many of them have been for a very long time receiving special forms of treatment. I have personally seen some of them in the hospitals in England, and I am glad to say that I have found them to be satisfied.