HC Deb 07 June 1894 vol 25 cc570-1
SIR C. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the epidemic of small-pox at present prevalent at Leith, and to the statement of the Medical Officer of Health of that burgh that the large increase of cases reported a fortnight ago was attributable to the fact that a large number of people mildly infected with the disease had been going about the streets, and that the sanitary department had recovered infected clothes from pawnbrokers; whether he is aware that the Medical Officers of Health of Glasgow have thought it necessary to warn inhabitants of the city, so far as possible, to avoid Leith, and have stigmatised the measures adopted by the authorities of that town to check the disease as devoid of intelligence and efficiency, and that the collector of Customs has notified the-Leith authorities that if the disease is-allowed to spread he will be compelled to-declare Leith a foul port; and whether the Board of Supervision have taken any steps, and if so what, to assist or guide-the Local Authorities in dealing with the epidemic?


I have made-inquiry as to the outbreak of small-pox at Leith, and understand that it is the-case, as stated by the hon. Member, that strong criticisms have been passed by-competent authorities upon the action of the Local Authority of that burgh. The Board of Supervision have for some time brought all the pressure they can to bear upon the Local Authority. They have had a conference at which the deficiencies of the burgh sanitation were pointed out, and they took the strongest step in their power by issuing a special Order requiring the Local Authority to deal forthwith with insanitary houses, and by calling upon them to re-organise their sanitary staff. Some improvement followed these measures; but the Board have continued to press the Local Authority to follow the example of the great majority of Sanitary Authorities both in England and in Scotland by adopting the Notification of Diseases Act; and I am glad to say that the Act was at last adopted the day before yesterday. I am informed that in nearly all the cases reported to the Local Authority the patients have been removed to hospital, and that joint action will now be taken along with Edinburgh in combating the epidemic.