The arrangement made with the Hospital combines a just system of investigation with leniency and discretion, the investigation being limited to the verification of the facts whether the applicant is in receipt of parish relief, in which case he should be provided for by the Poor Law; or is in receipt of wages exceeding 30s a week, in which case, he should, as a rule, be able to pay a small sum for medical advice. No inquiry is made into the past history of the applicant.
It appeared that the action of the Society had produced two results---it had gradually separated the eligible from the ineligible for gratuitous medical relief; but it had also deterred a large number of persons from applying who would have been willing to pay according to their means.
A scheme was therefore adopted the leading feature of which was that applicants should have the alternative of a moderate payment or inquiry into their circumstances. From returns submitted to Council it appeared that only 34 per cent. of the 10,797 who attended the hospital as out-patients and received medical relief once, became permanent out-patient of the hospital, or attended a second time. ... this was not due to any excessive strictness of the Society ... only 51 per cent. of those referred for enquiry ever applied to the Society, while of the 4,574 who did apply only 786 either had their letters "not stamped" or did not call for them.[SW 209-210]