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On the Provision for the Insane Poor in the Future

  • D. Hack Tuke

Should the future provision for the insane poor in Yorkshire, and not in this county only, but in other counties of England, be conducted on the same lines as the past provision has been?

This paper aims at being something more than historical, and faces the practical questions which naturally arise from the survey which I have just made.

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* I have vainly endeavoured to discover how many of this class are scattered about in Yorkshire, but the number is stated to be extremely small. I have obtained returns from Scarborough, Barnsley, Doncaster, Halifax, Pontefraot, Sheffield, Holbeck, Wakefield, Wharfdale, Wortley, and N. Brierley, arranged under three heads:—In Lodgings and Boarded-out, 1. With Relatives, 175. Alone or in Almshouses, 9. Total, 185.

* If the proposed residence is outside the limits of the Union to which the lunatic is chargeable, the approval of a justice having jurisdiction in the place where the relative or friend resides must also be obtained.

Sub-section 5 of this Section enacts that so long as an allowance is paid, the lunatic shall not be deemed a pauper lunatic in an asylum for the purposes of the Lunatic Act, 1858, Sect. 66.

* I would also mention in this connection some important evidence given at the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Lunatics in 1859 by the Chairman of the Hanwell Asylum Committee (Sir Alexander Spearman), when he was asked: “Is not the effect of keeping patients in an asylum, instead of transferring them to the workhouse, to keep out from your asylum curable cases to which you might do much good?” The reply was in the negative, and he proceeded to state that the Commissioners in Lunacy had communicated to the Committee the fact that there were no less than 76 curable pauper cases in private asylums in Middlesex, and had expressed a wish that immediate arrangements should be made for receiving these curable cases into the Hanwell Asylum. The witness then stated that they undertook to remove into the asylum every case that was really one likely to be benefited by the removal, and by being placed under more careful management. The Asylum Medical Officers visited every one of those cases, and they reported upon them to the Committee. What was the result? Why, to show that out of those 76 patients not more than half were cases in which there was the slightest possible chance of recovery. Four females were transferred to Hanwell, and in regard to these the Chairman's evidence was as follows:— “When I inquired yesterday it appeared that one had died and three were incurable.” (Report of Select Committee, April 11, 1859, p. 251.)

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
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  • EISSN: 2514-9946
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On the Provision for the Insane Poor in the Future

  • D. Hack Tuke
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