HC Deb 02 November 1939 vol 352 cc2104-5
75. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health the number of beds available for tuberculous patients in hospitals and sanatoria before the outbreak of war and at the present time; and what arrangements are being made to increase such facilities?

Mr. Elliot

The number of beds available before the outbreak of war in approved institutions for the treatment of tuberculosis in England and Wales was approximately 30,000. A diminution occurred after the outbreak of war, the proportion varying in different districts. I recently discussed with representatives of the three voluntary organisations concerned with the prevention and cure of tuberculosis and of the medical officers of health the steps necessary to secure the return to normal functions of as many tuberculosis institutions as possible. In pursuance of this policy a large number of sanatoria have now been released from their obligation to keep beds empty for the treatment of casualties.

Dr. Haden Guest

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these tuberculosis cases are still at large?

Mr. Elliot

I cannot say that, nor would it be possible to detect that without examination not only of those who have gone back to the institutions, but of those who have not yet been admitted to an institution. The only way to solve the problem, as the hon. Member will agree, would be to seek out and hospitalise these cases as rapidly as possible, and that is our object when beds are available for them.