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Medical Service

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that there are sufficient doctors in Tobago to attend to the needs of the population; what public health service is provided by the Government; and whether he is aware that the cost of medical attention is almost prohibitive for the poor.

As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

There are four Government medical officers, three of whom are full time officers. The Russell Committee recommended in 1944 that in addition to the three medical officers then employed, there should be a full-time qualified county medical officer of health and a house surgeon for the principal hospital. Since then an additional part-time medical officer has been appointed, and I am making inquiries whether further steps have been taken. The nursing staff numbers nine, and includes a matron and three health visitors; there are five sanitary inspectors. The Colonial Government provide one 60-bedded hospital, which can be expanded to 70 beds, and 12 health offices and dispensaries. An intensive campaign against yaws, hookworm and malaria is being carried out at the present time.

As regards the last part of my hon. Friend's Question, paupers and old age pensioners receive free medical treatment. Persons in possession of a poverty certificate from the local administration, or from the public assistance authorities, pay 15. the receipt for which entitles them to medical treatment for a fortnight.