22 AUGUST 1958, Page 6

'IN THESE more enlightened days,' Miles Howard wrote a few

weeks ago, 'most doctors agree that to take a young child away from its parents and put it in a strange place among strange people for any length of time is a serious matter'; and I was glad to see that the doctors who discussed the subject in a BBC television programme last week agreed. 'lie very young child should net, if at all possible, be sent to hospital : for what it gains from expert treatment it may more than lose front the ill-effects of separation from home and family. Fortunately the progress in medicine has greatly reduced the number of children who need hospital treatment; but even this is not without its disadvantages, as the current controversy over the proposal to convert Carshalton children's hos- pital to other uses has revealed. That Carshalton is wasteful in its present half-empty state is un- deniable; but the loss of a hospital where child- ren's needs were really considered and understood will be serious. Where will the children go? Not, I hope, to general hospitals; they are not geared to provide for the special needs of children. For one thing—as a doctor on the television programme pointed out—children need to be able to make a noise: something which few general hospitals care to tolerate!