National Health Service (Personal Case)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st February 1955.

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Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar 12:00 am, 1st February 1955

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that an elderly lady with a broken thigh and other injuries was refused National Health Service air ambulance transport from the Isle of Lewis to Inverness and compelled to make a long sea crossing and a further long journey overland without any nurse or other female attendant; and whether he will take steps to prevent such treatment of patients in future.

Commander Galbraith:

The decision to send the patient by land and sea instead of by air was made by the consultant surgeon of Lewis Hospital, Stornoway, who regarded heir as medically fit to travel by that method. My right hon. Friend does not propose to interfere with the discretion of experienced medical men in such matters.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that this case involved a lady 70 years of age who had a broken thigh and an injured arm, and whose two legs were strapped together in plaster? She could have gone from Stornoway to Inverness in a matter of 40 minutes by air, but she had to make a long and uncomfortable sea journey and then an overland journey of about four hours in an ambulance, without any female attendant at all. Is that an example of good judgment on the part of anybody? How can the Minister defend that treatment? Will he give an assurance that it will not happen again?

Commander Galbraith:

I cannot speak about the injuries from which the lady was suffering. All I can speak about is based on the information of the consultant who attended to her. I would add that the patient herself was satisfied with the arrangements.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that I was expressly asked by the family concerned if I would raise this matter, in order that other people would be spared such treatment?