asked the Minister of Health what measures he proposes to introduce to deal with the recent increase in venereal diseases, as shown in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer.
The inquiries now proceeding have not yet indicated any new measures which can usefully be taken.
Is the Minister aware that the increase for 1960 was about 10 per cent. and, particularly for the 19-year-old age group, it is very alarming? Does he realise that it seems almost certain that similar figures will obtain for 1961, and will he consult the Minister of Education with an idea of making some kind of joint endeavour, because this requires to be dealt with both medicinally and educationally? Will his Department again look at this suggestion very seriously? A contribution might at least be made by the compulsory notification of venereal disease?
The question of compulsory notification is a separate one, but I entirely agree that this is very largely an educational question. That is why, both on the education and health sides, an effort is being made; but no new proposals have come out of the current investigations which are proceeding.
Can the Minister say to what extent this increase is due to the development of strains of microorganisms which are resistant to the present antibiotics? What progress has been made for developing new types of antibiotics which will themselves conquer these new strains of micro-organisms?
It was pointed out by my Chief Medical Officer in his last report that there are a large number of contributory factors. There is no major outstanding factor responsible for this phenomenon. I would rather not give an answer off the cuff on the medical point.