§ 69. Mr. R. MORRISON
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that instructions were issued on the 9th instant to the patients of the Ministry of Pensions hospital, Chepstow, that all patients must either be vaccin- 34 ated or take their discharge; and will he state by whose authority and for what reason these instructions were issued?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY of the MINISTRY of PENSIONS (Lieut.-Colonel G. F. Stanley)
The instructions given were not in the terms suggested by the hon. Member in the first part of the question. In consequence of the recent severe outbreak of smallpox in Monmouthshire, it was deemed necessary by my medical advisers to take all possible steps both to protect the patients in the hospital at Chepstow and to obviate the risk of the closure of this important institution which serves the needs of pensioners in Monmouthshire and South Wales, as closure would have been the only possible course in the event of an outbreak of this disease occurring in the hospital. With this view, instructions were issued to the medical superintendent directing his attention to the importance of the matter and advising him that, in the case of any patient whom he considered not already adequately protected against the disease, re-vaccination should be secured as far as possible, if he considered it necessary and medically practicable. In the event of refusal on the part of a patient or where the case was not, on medical grounds, suitable for vaccination, the case was to be dealt with either by the temporary provision of alternative treatment, or by isolation, or by other means, compatible with the welfare of the patient, which would obviate contact with other patients in the institution. These instructions have been carried out with careful regard to the well-being of all the patients concerned, and, I am glad to say, have so far been effective.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Could the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether any of the ex-service patients who objected to being vaccinated have since taken their discharge from the hospital?
I think there were three, whose time was practically up. They left last Saturday, their treatment being practically concluded; I do not think any others have gone. We have dealt with the difficulty by isolation.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Do I understand that the three who left last Saturday 35 would have left in any case, or that they left before their time as a result of objecting to vaccination?
As far as I remember, they would have left in any case, but at any rate their treatment was practically complete.