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Cuirass Respirators

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Health the cost of importing a cuirass respirator of the Monaghan type from the United States of America for the treatment of poliomyelitis; what research has been undertaken to evolve a similar type in Britain; and whether it is now being manufactured.

The average delivered cost of the Monaghan cuirass respirators imported recently from the U.S.A. was £853, including duty. Following officially sponsored research in this country a new type of cuirass shell has now been developed. Twelve sets of these shells are being assembled under contract and will shortly be delivered for clinical trials.

Would not the cost be perhaps one-tenth of the figure quoted by the Minister if we made these respirators in this country? Ought we not to have a fair number of them, which would allow beds to become vacant that, otherwise, must be occupied for a very long time?

The cost of the shells being made in this country is about oneseventh—it is £120—and I have no doubt that the shells which are being delivered at the end of the month will be of great value.

Cannot import duty on this type of apparatus be waived in order to bring down the cost of this valuable aid?

I think my answer indicated that we are overcoming that problem by manufacturing suitable shells in this country.