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Hospital Employee, Castle Douglas

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that Mr. Robert Hogg who was employed for 27 years as caretaker and gardener at Castle Douglas and District Hospital has been refused a pension by the Department of Health for Scotland who have dismissed him on the ground of ill-health; and if he will give this decision reconsideration in view of the fact that the old hospital board proposed to give Mr. Hogg a pension of £52 per annum which proposal was departed from on the passing of the Health Service (Scotland) Act in 1947, on the ground that as a new governing body would take over the board's responsibilities the question of a pension should properly be left to them.

No, Sir. Mr. Hogg worked on a jobbing basis, and the old board had contemplated replacing him—as the new board have done—by a full-time employee. But the records show that the old board declined to accept a recommendation that he should receive a pension. Moreover, they took no steps to reverse this decision before July, 1948, although they were invited to declare their intentions regarding pensions for their employees; and there is no record of any employee of the hospital ever having received a gratuitous pension.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable local feeling about this man, who has given 20 years' loyal service, and that it is regarded as one of the worst illustrations of the callous operation of State Socialism?

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree, in view of what my hon. Friend has said, that there is a degree of doubt about this? Should it not be looked into again in order to allay public suspicion, even if it is not correct?

I think the information of the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) is not complete, especially on the latter point he made, but if he has any evidence in his possession to show that our information in inaccurate, I shall be glad to reconsider it.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that undertaking, and I certainly will bring it to his notice. May I ask if he is aware that the information was supplied to me by members of the board in question?