HC Deb 24 May 1928 vol 217 cc2050-1

asked the Minister of Health how many small-pox hospitals in this country have during the last three years been used as sanatoria for tuberculosis cases; in how many of these hospitals have the authorities had to discharge their cases of tuberculosis in order to admit cases of small-pox; is he aware that some of the tuberculosis cases have had to return to their homes as no sanatorium accommodation could be found for them; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this situation?


Twenty-one small-pox hospitals have been used during the past three years for the treatment of tuberculosis, in one ease for the summer months only. Tuberculosis patients have been removed from six of these hospitals in order to provide accommodation for small-pox cases. Of these six, at least three will not again be used for the treatment of tuberculosis patients, alternative accommodation having been provided or being in course of provision. I am aware that there is some disadvantage attaching to the use of small-pox hospitals for tuberculous patients, but when it is necessary for these hospitals to revert to their original use every effort is made to find other accommodation for the displaced patients. It is primarily a matter for the local authorities to consider what steps should be taken to avoid the possibility of some of these patients having to return to their homes.


Does not my right hon. Friend think that if the Vaccination Acts were more rigidly enforced he would be able to use some of this accommodation for cases of tuberculosis, which are undoubtedly of a more serious nature than cases of small-pox at the present time?


I do not think that we can so entirely neglect the possibility of the occurrence of small-pox as to be able to dispense altogether with small-pox hospitals.


Is my right hon. Friend not seriously concerned as to the recent great increase of small-pox in this country and will he make further inquiries whether that increase is not largely due to inadequate vaccination?


That is a matter of opinion.