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Venereal Diseases

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 13 May 1943

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20.

asked the Minister of Health how many persons, men and women, have been informed against under Regulation 33B; how many have refused treatment and subsequently been imprisoned; and whether the informers are compelled to complete their own treatment?

Information now received from all but a very few authorities in England and Wales shows that 36 men and 475 women have been reported to medical officers of health as alleged sources of venereal infection, of whom one man and 27 women have been the subject of more than one report, which is necessary before Regulation 33B can operate. Of these 28 persons, two women have refused treatment, one expressly and one by default, and have been prosecuted and imprisoned. On the last part of the Question, no civilian voluntarily undergoing treatment for venereal disease is subject to compulsion to complete it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that this Regulation has made a substantial contribution to reducing the incidence of venereal disease? Is he aware that, as we anticipated, this Regulation is operating unfavourably against women?

I do not agree with that at all. It is quite clear to me, from the reports I have received, that the Regulation is assisting local authorities in their voluntary work in this matter to a marked degree.

In view of the fact that only 36 men have been informed against, can the right hon. Gentleman say that this is a marked reduction?

The hon. Lady is interpreting the Regulation in a sense different from that in which the House received it. It was not the intention of the House to use compulsion for compulsion's sake, but in order to secure the desired end of an improvement in the position.

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask local authorities and other authorities to see how far this Regulation is' contributing towards a reduction of the disease?

I have given the figures for the last quarter. I shall ask each quarter for a regular report. Of course, there is intense interest in this matter, stimulated by the widespread social and educational campaign we are carrying on.