HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 cc408-9
35. Mr. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Health whether he is now in a position to state what steps have been initiated to prevent workers coming from Ireland in a verminous state, with scabies, venereal disease, tuberculosis, or other contagious infection which may be injurious to the health of the people of this country?

Mr. E. Brown

As my hon. Friend is aware, there is no regular system of medical examination in Eire or Northern Ireland of workers engaged by employers for work in this country, and it is not practicable, therefore, wholly to prevent transference of particular individuals whose state of health makes it undesirable. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service and I are fully alive to the need of safeguarding the public health in this country, and arrangements have been made for medical examination of the workers concerned as soon as they arrive at the site which my hon. Friend doubtless has in mind.

Mr. Wakefield

While I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, does he realise that there is very real anxiety throughout the country about the present state of affairs, and can he take action to see that there is a medical examination before they get to the site?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend will understand that there is a difficulty because the machinery and powers of the port health authorities are primarily concerned with infectious diseases liable to cause epidemics, but we are sympathetic about the matter and think that action on the site is the best method.

Sir P. Hurd

Will my right hon. Friend send an inspector to see the serious conditions brought about by this method?

Mr. Brown

I think we have done that.