HC Deb 29 March 1928 vol 215 cc1328-9
24. Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

asked the Minister of Health what number of beds are available for small-pox, respectively, under the Metropolitan Asylum Board, the Surrey County Council, the Uxbridge Joint Hospital Board, and the Willesden Urban District Council; what number are occupied and what number are vacant; is he aware that two cases of small-pox occurring in the infirm ward at the Brentford Union institution had to be isolated in that institution from 16th March to 22nd March, and another case from the 25th March, rather than in a small-pox hospital; and whether he will secure that vacant beds in small-pox hospitals shall be available for cases of small-pox from neighbouring areas, subject to proper chargeability of expenses incurred?


As the answer includes a number of figures, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

May I have a reply to the third and fourth parts of the question?


The answer to the third part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part, while I am willing to do what is possible by persuasion, my hon. and gallant Friend is no doubt aware that I have no power to require authorities possessing small-pox hospital accommodation to admit patients from other districts the councils of which have made either no provision or inadequate provision for the purpose.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

Does that mean that the Minister is using his very great powers of persuasion to get this absurdly selfish policy of local authorities altered?


I should not like to adopt that definition of it.


Is provision made in all infirmaries for isolation treatment for infectious cases?


I should not like to say that in all cases, but in most cases I think it is.

Commander WILLIAMS

Would not an increase in vaccination help this great trouble?

Following are the figures:

The numbers of beds available for small-pox under the Metropolitan Asylum Board, the Surrey Small-pox Hospital Committee, the Uxbridge J.H.B., and the Willesden U.D.C., are 2,123 (approximately), 19, 26 and 25, respectively. Of these beds only six are occupied at the present time.