HC Deb 29 September 1942 vol 383 cc643-4
5. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether the incidence of industrial diseases among coalminers is increasing; whether he will give figures showing the increase in the number of cases of dermatitis and the reasons for the increase?

Major Lloyd George

As indicated in a reply to a Question by my hon. Friend on 10th February, there has been some increase in certain categories of disease and some decrease in others during recent years. For reasons which are at present obscure the number of cases of dermatitis among miners Certified by examining surgeons for purposes of Workmen's Compensation has increased from 224 in 1937 to a provisional figure of 571 for 1941. As the problems of dermatitis also arise, and to a greater extent, in the case of factory workers, I am consulting with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service as to the best lines of investigating the matter more closely.

Mr. Griffiths

Will the Minister bear in mind that there is considerable medical opinion among the medical men who serve in the mining areas that this increase in dermatitis, which is very serious, is due to certain deficiencies in the diet? Will he have immediate inquiries made into that point?

Major Lloyd George

I have had inquiries made into one section of diet to which the hon. Member has previously referred. He will not be surprised to hear that medical opinion is exactly the opposite. There has been an increase which has not been confined to the mining industry nor to the war years. I am making the most careful inquiries.

Sir Herbert Williams

Will the Minister consult the medical officer of the Ministry of Supply as a great many cases of dermatitis have occurred in Royal Ordnance factories, and he is rather an expert on the matter?

Major Lloyd George

indicated assent.