HC Deb 31 March 1885 vol 296 cc1092-3

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether the statement in the pamphlet entitled "Facts concerning Vaccination," sanctioned by his Department, that— None of the nurses at any of the London small-pox hospitals who have been duly re-vaccinated before entering on their duties have ever caught small-pox, is accurate; whether the Department is aware that at Stockwell Hospital, in 1877, three nurses, at Fulham Hospital three nurses at one time, and four at a later period, at Deptford Hospital one, within eight days after re-vaccination, were all attacked with small-pox; whether he is aware that at Halifax Hospital, in 1881, the matron and a nurse, at Sheffield Hospital the medical officer and a nurse, at Lewes Fever Hospital, 1881, a nurse, all contracted small-pox after re-vaccination; whether he is aware that Dr. Bakewell, of the Trinidad Hospital, took the disease after six re-vaccinations; whether it is the custom to employ, as nurses, as many as possible who have suffered small- pox; and, whether he will restrain such statements from being published with the sanction, in any degree, of his Department?


The Board are aware of the statement alluded to, and, while they have no reason to doubt that it is substantially accurate, they admit that it might have been more guardedly expressed. As regards the Stockwell Hospital, it appears from the report of the medical superintendent in 1882 that four cases of small-pox had occurred among the staff since 1876, three of which were very mild, and one severe; but in that case the infection was believed to have been contracted before the officer came on duty. At Fulham Hospital we are aware that four nurses had slight attacks, which occurred a few days after they entered the hospital, and in each case the disease ran concurrently with re-vaccination. At the Deptford Hospital there was one case—the disease was incubating at the time of re-vaccination. As regards the Halifax Hospital, the hon. Member was informed by the late President of the Board in May, 1881, that a small-pox patient was sent to the fever hospital, and that the matron and staff' were strongly urged to be vaccinated, but they refused. The matron three weeks afterwards showed symptoms of the disease, and on the day following four of the nurses were vaccinated; but in one case small-pox showed itself in two days, and in another in four days. They were, therefore, under the influence of the disease when the vaccination took place. We have no information at present as to the Sheffield Hospital, but we are making inquiry with regard to it. With respect to the Lewes Hospital, it is to be inferred from the report of the medical officer of health that the re-vaccination was not performed until the nurse had contracted small-pox. We have no information as to Dr. Bakewell, of the Trinidad Hospital. We believe it is not the general custom in the hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board to employ nurses who have had small-pox. From the report of the medical superintendent of the Fulham Hospital in March, 1882, it appeared that at Fulham 42 out of a staff of 295 had had small-pox, at Stock well 16 out of 340, and at Deptford 20 out of 265. The Board are quite willing to bring under the attention of the National Health Society the particular cases to which attention has been drawn.