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Metropolitan Police (Sick List)

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the inadequacy of the arrangements existing at present in the Metropolitan Police for the treatment of members of the force who are sick; whether he is aware that a number of the men who go on the sick list during a year, but who are not ill enough to be sent to an ordinary hospital, are accommodated in section houses or their own lodgings, where there are no proper facilities for their nursing or attention; and will he state what steps he proposes to take to improve the present arrangements?

The arrangements now in force in the Metropolitan Police district for the medical care of sick police have been carefully devised with a view to giving them the most efficient care. All cases of illness in which nursing is required are sent at the cost of the police fund to the hospital nearest to the home and friends of the sick officer, unless treatment in a special hospital is recommended. Officers suffering from minor ailments are treated by the divisional surgeons, of whom there are 182, in their own home or lodgings, like ordinary private patients, or, if they reside in the section houses, in the sick rooms provided there. Officers requiring rest and care during convalescence are sent at the cost of the relief fund to a convalescent home at the seaside.

also asked the Home Secretary whether, in consequence of the inadequacy of the facilities provided for the treatment of sick members of the Metropolitan Police, he will consider the advisability of the establishment of an isolation ward and proper facilities for open-air and other suitable treatment of suspected or early cases of tuberculosis and the proper provision of police hospitals in suitable districts; and whether he is aware that for the City Police force of 1,100 men there is an institution provided with four wards and thirty-two beds, whilst in the Metropolitan Police force of 21,000 men there is no provision of this kind whatsoever?

Prompt measures are taken in cases of suspected or early tuberculosis in the Metropolitan Police; and arrangements have for some years been in existence by which such cases are at once transferred to suitable hospitals or sanatoria for observation or for treatment as each may require. The hospital established for the City Police Force no doubt serves satisfactorily for a comparatively small force concentrated in an area of one square mile, but to establish special hospitals to serve the whole Metropolitan area of some 700 square miles would be a most costly expedient, and it would not yield such good results as the present system, under which sick police have the benefit of treatment in the great hospitals of London, which place at the disposal of the sick the services of the most distinguished surgeons and physicians of the Metropolis. For every man in hospital a subscription of a guinea a week is paid out of the Police Fund.