26. Mr. David Adams
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that it has recently been calculated that, whereas deaths from tuberculosis in 1913 were 28 per cent. higher on Tyneside than in the rest of the country, in 1937 they were 54 per cent. higher; that, although all districts have improved to some extent, the improvement has been uneven, indicating that certain districts require special attention; and what particular steps he proposes to take to protect these districts from a considerable rise in tuberculosis during the present war?
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Elliot)
The death rate from tuberculosis in the Tyneside area as a whole shows a decrease of 36 per cent. since 1913, but the decrease varies considerably in different districts and is less than the decrease for England and Wales, which is 49 per cent. I am aware of the need for keeping a watch on the local position there, and, as I informed the hon. Member on 29th February, I have approved the continuation of the building scheme for a new sanatorium by the Poole Sanatorium Joint Board. This should be completed in 12 months and will add 315 beds to the accommodation available for the area. In drawing comparisons with experience in the last war, it is fair to have in mind the great improvement in general living conditions and in the facilities now available for the treatment of tuberculosis.
Is not the Minister aware that the contentions in this Question are strictly accurate, and will he advise the House as to what special steps are being taken?
§ Mr. Elliot
I understood that the hon. Member was asking a Question and not making contentions.
§ Mr. Elliot
I have given a serious reply. There are few districts in the whole of the country where we have not continued adding to the building of the hospital accommodation which is available.