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National Health Service

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 19 May 1949

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Hospital, Staffordshire


asked the Minister of Health on what date Shugborough Park Hospital, Staffordshire, will be brought into use; and for what purposes.

I regret I cannot at present add to the reply which I made to my hon. Friend on 17th March.

Will the Minister give an assurance that the use of this hospital will not be sacrificed as the result of the financial cuts imposed upon the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board?

I have not yet received from the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board any suggestions as to what use should be made of this hospital. When I receive those recommendations I will, of course, bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.

Maternity Home, Emsworth


asked the Minister of Health how much was spent upon equipping Northlands Maternity Home, Ems-worth; why it is not to be used for that purpose; and for what purpose it is intended to use it.

The sum of £2,085 was spent in equipping this Home. The Portsmouth Hospital Management Committee postponed the opening of the Home. The South-West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board hope to decide at their next meeting whether to confirm this action or to arrange for the immediate opening of the Home.

How did it come about that this hospital was equipped before a firm decision had been arrived at about how it had to be used?

I must await the report of the regional hospital board before making a decision.



asked the Minister of Health how many copies of the list of dentists who are taking part in the National Health Scheme are supplied to each post office; and what arrangements are made to replace them, if necessary.

One copy of the dental list is normally circulated to each post office, amendments being sent out periodically. Postmasters have been informed that if the list is removed further copies may be obtained from the local executive council.

Mental Cases (Care And Training)


asked the Minister of Health what authorities are responsible for the care and training for employment of border-line cases of mental illness, not requiring treatment in mental institutions, mental hospitals or at outpatient clinics.

If the persons in question are not in need of care and treatment either as in-patients or out-patients, it would not appear that either the regional hospital board or the local health authority have responsibility. The question of training for those who need it to enable them to take employment falls within the purview of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that training for appropriate employment would enable many of these people to lead normal and useful lives?

Hospital Legacies


asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the result of the case of Blundell v. Royal Cancer Hospital; and if he will introduce amending legislation to clarify the position with regard to legacies to hospitals.

Smallpdx Cases, (Ss "Mooltan")


asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to make a further statement on the s.s. "Mooltan."

Yes, Sir. I regret that my reply to the hon. Member's supplementary question on 5th instant has led to a misunderstanding. Passengers who disembarked from the "Mooltan" at Marseilles did so before smallpox was suspected and had to be traced. On the other hand, when the medical officer of the Port of London received from the "Mooltan" before she reached port a message that there was a case of chickenpox on board, he made preparations on the assumption that it might be smallpox. No one was allowed to land until all proper precautions had been taken. These included the offer of vaccination to all passengers, ascertaining where they were going in order to warn the medical officers of health of the districts concerned. I am glad to take this opportunity of acknowledging the prompt and efficient work of the health authorities in the Port of London and in the districts to which the passengers went.

In view of the fact that nobody was allowed to land until the body had been buried and the place fumigated, will the Minister say if he has power, or will he take powers to detain or quarantine known contacts who refuse vaccination? In view of the fact that smallpox is still spreading, is it not better for the individual to suffer rather than to allow the disease to spread and the consequent anguish to other people?

The hon. Member is asking for a change of the law and before that could be done I should have to consider very seriously the effect on the liberty of the individual caused by the suggestions he has made.

While considering the question of the handicap on the liberty of the individual, will my right hon. Friend also consider the previous situation whereby vaccination was compulsory?

No, because that would not affect the position at all. Under the original law it was possible to obtain exemption and because so large a number of cases had applied for it and received it I came to the conclusion that it was no longer necessary to have compulsion.

I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter again on the Adjournment.

Water Supply, Wainfleet


asked the Minister of Health the date on which application was made to him by the Spilsby Rural District Council to provide a water supply which would supply Culvert Road, Wainfleet; and when he proposes to give permission for this work to commence.

The Council's proposals for a large number of main extensions were submitted in June, 1947, when labour and materials were not sufficient to enable the whole scheme to be approved. The more urgent sections have been completed, and permission has now been given for work to start in July on a section to supply Wainfleet.

I did not catch the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's reply. Does it mean that this particular work will be covered by his permission?

I said that sanction has now been given to the supply of Culvert Road, Wainfleet.