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Public Health

Volume 237: debated on Thursday 3 April 1930

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Lock Hospital


asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to announce the reforms undertaken by the board of the Lock Hospital; whether any women have been appointed to its governing board; and, if so, what are their names?

The governing body of this hospital have given effect to a number of the recommendations contained in the Papers presented to Parliament last July, and I understand that further improvements are in contemplation. I do not consider that the best interests of the hospital would be served by publishing details at the present time of the reforms already effected. As regards the remaining parts of the question, the board of management of the hospital includes the following ladies: Mrs. Hatfeild, J.P.; Councillor Mrs. Hendin, J.P.; Commissioner Mrs. Lamb, J.P.; Lady Leitrim; Miss E. E. Macneill; Miss Mowll.



asked the Minister of Health if he can state the number of cases of psittacosis notified during the month of March?

Psittacosis is not a notifiable disease, but my Department has received information of 20 cases of illness which commenced last month and in which the patients had been associated with sick parrots. I am advised, however, that in the present state of knowledge of psittacosis it is not possible to say definitely how many of these persons were in fact suffering from that disease.

Is the right hon. Gentleman considering the question of prohibiting the importation of these parrots?

NUMBER of PATIENTS who died in Institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control.
Year.Institutions for the Insane (under the Lunacy Acts).Institutions for Mental Defectives.
19208,476Not available.
19218,523117 Not including deaths in poor Law Institutions approved under Section 37 of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, Certified Houses, or Approved Homes.
19279,292207Not including deaths in Poor Law Institutions approved under Section 37 of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913.


asked the Minister of Health the number of institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control in which the approved accommodation is in excess of normal requirements; and what is that excess?

There are 44 local authorities under the Lunacy Act who have accommodation in excess of that required for patients within their own area; and the total number of beds is at present 5,272. Most of this surplus accommodation is, however, occupied by patients received under reception contracts from other local authorities who have insufficient accommodation or do not own a mental hospital. I am informed that private institutions under the Lunacy Act have sufficient vacant beds to meet normal requirements. In the case of mental deficiency institutions, there is no accommodation in excess of normal requirements.

Are steps being taken to secure accommodation in the case of local authorities which at present have no accommodation?

Mental Treatment


asked the Minister of Health the number of patients who died in institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control during each of the last 10 years?

I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate the available particulars in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the particulars:


asked the Minister of Health the average number of patients per doctor in the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control?

As regards institutions under the Lunacy Act, the average number of patients to each member of the resident medical staff is:

  • (a) In county and borough mental hospitals, 280;
  • (b) In registered hospitals, 61; and
  • (c) In licensed houses 35.
  • Most of these institutions have, in addition to their resident staff, a number of visiting consultants. In mental deficiency institutions, the average number of patients to each member of the staff, resident and non-resident, is 111.

    Birth Control


    asked the Minister of Health whether it has been reported to him by his medical officers that there are any demands or requests for birth control information from mothers at subsidised welfare centres?

    Such requests are only occasionally reported by the medical officers of the Department.

    Maternity Welfare (Milk)


    asked the Minister of Health the number of local authorities which have increased their expenditure on milk since May, 1929; and whether it is his policy to encourage such expenditure in the interests of expectant and nursing mothers and their babies?

    There were 47 cases in which I sanctioned an increased expenditure on milk by local authorities during the past financial year, and in 99 other cases the revised estimates of the local authorities showed some increase in this expenditure, as compared with the original estimates. As regards the last part of the question, I have given a general sanction to the extension of this service to such an extent, and in such a manner, as the local authorities think desirable.

    Has my right hon. Friend made up the sums taken from them by his predecessor?

    Imported Milk And Cream


    asked the Minister of Health what was the amount of liquid milk and what was the amount of liquid cream imported into this country in 1929; from what countries did they come, respectively; and what precautions were taken to see that they were free from tuberculosis?

    I am informed that 56,460 cwts. of milk and 138,604 cwts. of cream were imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1929. All the milk except 406 cwts. from Denmark and the Netherlands came from the Irish Free State. I am sending the hon. and gallant Member a statement showing the countries from which the imports of cream were received. Imports of milk from outside the British Islands are subject to examination for tubercle under the Imported Milk Regulations. There is no examination of imported cream for this purpose.

    Child Adoption (Advertisements)


    asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that provincial newspapers constantly publish advertisements which offer to adopt children and which have only a box number; whether he is aware that the advertisers are sometimes people from whom the licence to take children has been withdrawn and people who are unaware that a licence is necessary; and whether he will take steps to make it compulsory that the names of such advertisers under a box number shall be sent by the Press to the clerk of the appropriate public assistance committee?

    No recent advertisements of this kind have been brought to the notice of my Department, and I have no information to the effect of the second part of the question. As regards the third part, this suggestion will receive consideration in connection with any legislation for the amendment of Part I of the Children Act, 1908.

    Clerks Of County Councils (Appointments)


    asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to make any statement as to the introduction of legislation in regard to the appointment of clerks of the county councils and clerks of the peace?

    I have recently informed the County Councils' Association that, while I am in sympathy with such legislation, it cannot be included in the programme of the Government for the current Session of Parliament.



    asked the Minister of Health if he will state the day of the month in 1931 when the next Census will be taken; and whether the schedule of information desired will differ in any way from that in use in 1921, and, if so, in what respect?

    I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply on the 26th ultimo to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Freeman).

    Poor Law (Stone Breaking)


    asked the Minister of Health if he will state in how many Poor Law institutions stone breaking is still imposed as a task; and what steps he is taking in the matter?

    The Report of the inquiry into test work which I propose to publish deals with this matter, and I would ask my hon. Friend to await its publication.

    Is my right hon. Friend not aware that in the meantime stone breaking is still being given, and cannot he give the simple information for which I ask? There is nothing confidential about it.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman also say when he intends to publish the Report.

    Has not the right hon. Gentleman had this matter in hand for a very long time?

    Social Insurance Schemes


    asked the Minister of Health whether the general survey of social insurance schemes by the special committee has now been completed?

    How long will it be before this committee arrives at a conclusion, or is the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given simply a means of evading the undertakings which he has already given?

    May I very respectfully ask you, Mr. Speaker, on a point of Order, whether it is in order for the Minister of Health to refuse to answer any supplementary questions at all?