HC Deb 03 December 1936 vol 318 cc1413-5
22. Miss WARD

asked the Minister of Labour how many centres for the treatment of physical disabilities among adolescents have been established; and how many cases have been dealt with?


No centres have been established expressly for the treatment of physical disabilities among adolescents, but two centres, known as junior transfer centres, have been established in County Durham and Glamorgan for unemployed boys considered to be in need of a preliminary course. 477 boys passed through these centres between July, 1935, when the first centre was opened, and October, 1936. A third centre near Huddersfield, with accommodation for 42 boys, will be opened early in 1937, and a fourth is under consideration. It is hoped shortly to provide additional facilities at such centres for youths found to be in need of the simpler forms of medical treatment. Accommodation for 20 girls has been put at the disposal of the Ministry at a centre in Norfolk, but, so far, no girls have taken advantage of these facilities. Apart from the provision of junior transfer centres, local education authorities have power to provide medical and dental treatment for unemployed boys and girls attending junior instruction centres. I have no statistics of the number who have received treatment.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether adolescents obtaining work at juvenile instruction centres are entitled to eye treatment as well as dental and other treatment?


I should like particular notice of that question. They are entitled to medical and dental treatment, but I am not sure about ophthalmic treatment.


Is it not a fact that the Secretary of State for War opened one of these centres at Aldershot on 13th October for men who could not pass for the Army?


Can my right hon. Friend say whether the exact location of the centre to be established near Huddersfield has yet been determined?


I will let my hon. Friend know.


Should not services of this kind come from the Ministry of Health and the local authorities; and are we to understand that the Ministry of Labour is setting up an independent service?


There is no setting up of an independent service. This is a survival of the most successful work of training centres. Attention was called to this matter many months ago by my hon. friend the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward) and other hon. Members, and we are taking active steps to see if the need can be met.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether, when children are placed in training classes and their fees are paid by the Unemployment Assistance Board, and when they attend the classes, they are prevented from taking advantage of them because their sight is defective and will he take steps to remedy what obviously is a very serious matter?


I have already suggested to my hon. Friend that she should put down that question precisely; or if she wishes I will look into the point and let her know.