Motor Accidents (Voluntary Hospitals).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy. – in the House of Commons on 29th October 1929.

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Photo of Sir Louis Smith Sir Louis Smith , Sheffield, Hallam


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Depart- ment if he will obtain information from the police of the country of the number of accidents treated in local hospitals and resulting from the use of motors during the months from April to the middle of October, with the object of ascertaining the burden which is now placed on these institutions?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

I have consulted my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Health, and am advised that the collection of the figures the hon. Member mentions would not secure the object he has in view; and as the figures could not be obtained without imposing great labour on the police, out of all proportion to the usefulness of any results that can be anticipated, I regret that I do not see my way to ask the police to furnish them.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Transport whether in view of the serious cost and difficulties thrown on voluntary hospitals throughout the country in the receiving and treating of persons suffering from motor accidents, and also in view of the fact that in very many cases no payment is made to the hospital in question by such persons for their treatment in the hospital, His Majesty's Government will consider the propriety of raising a central fund by means of a small deduction from driving licences or otherwise with a view to adequate payments being made to voluntary hospitals who are unable to obtain payment for services rendered in the case of motor accidents?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I do not feel justified in recommending the legislation which would be required to impose a compulsory levy on the drivers of all motor vehicles for this purpose.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise the serious position of many of these hospitals, especially in the country, by reason, often, of them keeping a special ward to deal with these motoring accidents, and that this interferes with their normal work and is a great expense to them at a time when they are finding it difficult to pay their way? Could he not at any rate introduce some Clause in the legislation he has promised with regard to third-party insurance which would deal with this matter?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I think we all recognise the financial difficulties of voluntary hospitals, but I am unable to agree that that is a matter which arises exclusively from the services required from hospitals by motorists.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

Does not the Minister feel that one of the better remedies in this matter would be for motorists to take greater care?

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Will the Minister consider the propriety of approaching the Automobile Association and the Royal Automobile Club with a suggestion that they should try to devise some means of collecting these sums for the hospitals?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

There is no reason to believe that motorists as a class are less generous in their contributions to hospitals than any other section of the community, and I think it would be difficult to single them out from other users of the voluntary hospitals.