HC Deb 14 March 1929 vol 226 cc1261-2
29. Mr. DAY

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to an inquest held at Liverpool, on Wednesday, 6th March, on William Ronald Williamson, a tannery labourer, who died from anthrax; and, in view of the jury's recommendation in this case, will he consider amending the present law so that in all places where anthrax is likely to be contracted arrangements will be made in order that all suspected cases can be examined and given serum if necessary at any hour of the day or night?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. I have received a report which shows that the death was not due to any lack of facilities for the appropriate treatment, but to the fact that the case was not suspected to be anthrax. A warning as to the dangers of anthrax, and as to the necessity for immediate recourse to medical examination, is required by Home Office Regulation to be posted up in every works of this kind, and I am assured that supplies of the serum are available in all centres where the industries which are subject to this risk are carried on. The warning notice which I have mentioned also enumerates the places at which the serum can be obtained, so that even in the case of isolated factories a supply can always be made available in a few hours. The important thing is that any worker in the industry who is suffering from a boil or pimple or anything that may possibly be anthrax should obtain medical advice and treatment at once.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the rider passed by the coroner's jury would be of any benefit; and, if so, will he issue Regulations so that serum can be obtained at any time of the day or night?


In this case, nobody, neither the man himself nor the welfare worker, nor the doctor, suspected that it was a case of anthrax. I am advised that a supply of serum is available at any hour of the day or night, but, if I am given any information to the contrary effect, I will have inquiry made.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a strong feeling among leather workers that something should be done, and that cases of anthrax are considered to be due to the inadequate inspection of the raw hides which come from some parts of the world?


I am not aware of either of the facts which the hon. Member suggests.

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