asked the Minister of Health the number of tuberculosis patients awaiting hospital treatment in England and Wales.
On the latest information available, the number is about 9,000.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many patients who are kept waiting for long periods through no fault of his, and could he take any steps to expedite the matter?
I have asked the Tuberculosis Standing Advisory Committee of the Central Health Services Council to make an inquiry into this matter. The House will appreciate that the increase in the number of tuberculosis patients awaiting treatment is due to the better diagnostic facilities and mass radiography, but it is desirable to get them into tuberculosis institutions as early as possible. The difficulty is lack of staff.
Could my right hon. Friend give the figure separately for England and Wales?
If my hon. Friend will put a Question on the Order Paper I certainly will give him a reply.