HC Deb 29 July 1943 vol 391 cc1780-2
68. Mr. Messer

asked the Minister of Health whether he has any statistics showing the increase in the number of cases of active tuberculosis occurring among those who are house or family contacts of previously notified cases?

Mr. E. Brown

No such statistics as my hon. Friend refers to are available; nor could they be obtained without a special inquiry of all tuberculosis authorities, and this I should not feel justified in undertaking at the present time. The risk of family infection is fully recognised and authorities are alive to the importance of making every effort to examine family contacts of known cases of tuberculosis.

Mrs. Tate

When the right hon. Gentleman compiles statistics, will he give the figures for pulmonary and non-pulmonary tuberculosis separately and remember that pulmonary tuberculosis is not contracted from milk?

69. Mr. Messer

asked the Minister of Health whether, under the new tuberculosis scheme, a local authority will be empowered to continue to pay the Government scale of allowances from local funds in those cases where the patient cannot return o any form of work?

Mr. Brown

The statutory powers of tuberculosis authorities in this respect are contained in Section 173 of the Public Health Act, 1936, which authorises them to make such arrangements as they think desirable for the treatment of tuberculosis and for the after-care of persons who have suffered from tuberculosis. The decision on individual cases is a matter for the authority and their statutory powers are neither extended nor diminished by the fact that special arrangements have recently been authorised to repay from the Exchequer as a war service the cost of making allowances in certain cases.

Mr. Messer

Does that mean that they need not necessarily go back to the Poor Law if they are not fit for work?

Mr. Brown

The power of the tuberculosis authorities remains unimpaired.

76. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the allowance payable in respect of a housewife suffering from tuberculosis is only 100 a week; and whether he will consider increasing this amount with a view to enabling a family to obtain adequate domestic, help while the housewife is in a sanatorium?

Mr. Brown

The scheme of allowances for persons suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis is designed to provide adequate maintenance for persons undergoing treatment whose earnings are lost as a result of giving up employment in order to undertake treatment. Exceptionally, the particular allowance referred to in the question can be paid when earnings are not lost but the person undertaking treatment is the housewife and increased expenditure is involved in obtaining domestic help from outside the family which the authority are satisfied is necessary and cannot without hardship be met out of the resources available to the family. I should be prepared to look into any cases in which it is suggested that hardship arises.

Dr. Summerskill

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how it is possible for a working-class family, where the housewife is suffering from tuberculosis, to obtain a woman to undertake all the work of the household for 10s a week while she is in the sanatorium?

Mr. Brown

I will look into that, but there are three kinds of allowances—maintenance, discretionary and special. This is a special payment.

Dr. Summerskill

Does a housewife who is not working outside the home receive only 10s a week? Is that so or not?

Mr. Brown

There is discretion on the part of the local authority and the whole of these arrangements are made in that way under health and not under public assistance.