HC Deb 03 May 1938 vol 335 cc691-2
34. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of opinions widely held by certain experts that the nation is not obtaining a proper return for the money now expended upon public health; and whether the Government are considering measures, financial or administrative, to extend the scope of medical benefits so as to include consultant, specialist and pathological services, so that a more fundamental attack upon health problems may be made?

Mr. Bernays

As regards the first part of the question, varying opinions have been expressed on this subject. As regards the second part of the question, important matters of finance and administration are involved and my right hon. Friend could not undertake to make any pronouncement on the subject, which would have to be considered at the proper time in relation to the general financial resources of the country.

Mr. Adams

In view of the widespread and urgent necessity for further action on the lines of this question, does the Ministry of Health intend to give it further and proper consideration?

Mr. Bernays

The whole question is not solely concerned with insured persons. It is very largely, as the hon. Gentleman will agree, a question of hospital accommodation for special diagnosis and treatment, and, under the Local Government Act, 1929, the number of these hospitals is being steadily increased.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House the number of days lost through rheumatism by the working-class population in one year, so that we can get a measure of the need of these institutions?

Mr. Bernays

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question down.