HC Deb 18 June 1912 vol 39 cc1494-5

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the experiments made by Professor Poncel, of Paris, when he is reported to have found that the perspiration of almost all tubercular patients contained germs of the disease and that, after the garments of these people returned from the laundry, they still contained traces of this disease; and whether he will issue instructions or pass the necesary legislation compelling every laundry to use a sterilising plant for every garment brought into a laundry?


My attention has been drawn to the experiments of Professor Poncel. The majority of the twenty-four experiments undertaken by him had a negative result. The apparently positive results would need considerable confirmation before it could be regarded as necessary or desirable to take action on the lines indicated in the question. I am advised that it would be unfortunate if, on the basis of limited experiments, an exaggerated view of the risk of infection in tuberculosis were to be entertained.


Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the advisability of all Members being fumigated before coming into the House?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many human beings are not tubercular in one form or another?


asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the school medical officers in Liverpool refer all actual or suspected cases of tuberculosis amongst school children to the Liverpool Chest Hospital for the purpose of being submitted to the Von Pirquet's inoculation test; whether he has sanctioned that practice; and, whether, having regard to the experimental and dangerous character of that test, he will give instructions that in future the consent of the parents of children must be obtained before it is applied?


I understand from the report of the school medical officer for Liverpool for 1910 that the facts are as stated in the first part of the question. The Board's sanction to the specific methods of medical inspection adopted by local education authorities is not required. I am informed that the test in question has been freely employed on the Continent for several years and has also been used in England, and that it does not appear to be dangerous or likely to cause physical harm. On general grounds, I think it is desirable that the nature of the test should be explained to parents and their consent secured before it is applied, and I shall be glad to make the suggestion to the local education authority.