Orders of the Day — Nayland Sanatorium

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1949.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East 12:00 am, 28th July 1949

I am fully aware of the great deal of work they did in what I know were very difficult conditions. That does not mean there is not much still to be done. We all appreciate that. I think it is very wrong to give the impression that nothing was done by the British Legion when they were in control of this hospital. I should like to make it clear that, in order to ease the changeover from the British Legion to the National Health scheme, it was agreed that the existing house committee should continue to operate as agent for the hospital management committee in order that there should be maintained that contact with the ex-Service community which we wish to maintain.

As my hon. and gallant Friend has mentioned, it is true that very shortly a fresh house committee will be elected, but this should not be regarded as in any way due to any of the remarks he has made; it was agreed some considerable time ago and was, of course, always intended. There will still be on that house committee representation of ex-Service interests, in view of the fact that this sanatorium has been in the past connected with the British Legion village settlement at Maidstone. There are very real and useful contacts existing which we would not like altogether to destroy.

I agree, that some of the wards are not in as good a condition as we would like them to be; but already proposals have been put forward, indeed were put forward some time ago, for their improvement. It is true that much more needs to be done in regard to remedial treatment in the sanatorium. I think it is generally agreed that we want to encourage the men and women there to engage in a variety of useful occupational work. It is true that up to recently the making of poppies and paper hats has gone on, but certainly without any objection from the patients themselves. We are seeing that in future there shall be a wide provision of occupational therapy, such as would be found in any modern sanatorium. I am rather astonished that my hon. and gallant Friend prayed in aid the letter which some of the patients sent to the Press recently, as that letter begins by saying, As patients we are strongly opposed to the insinuations made by Commander Pursey in the House of Commons recently … It goes on to express whole-hearted disagreement with much of what he said.