HC Deb 14 December 1950 vol 482 cc1341-2
39. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Health the average time that a patient has to wait for a bed in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Manchester Regional Hospital Board area.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Blenkinsop)

The information is not available, but waiting periods vary so much according to individual need that to average them would have little meaning.

Mr. Shepherd

Is it not a fact that some years ago the hon. Gentleman did give these figures? Are they not to be given now because the situation is worse? Is that the reason?

Mr. Blenkinsop

The situation is, if anything, improving, although only too slowly, as we all realise. But these figures would convey nothing of any value to anyone.

Miss Florence Horsbrugh

Could the hon. Gentleman say whether there are many cases where the person has to wait for less than 12 months?

Mr. Blenkinsop

Yes. In cases of special urgency it is true that provision can very often be made, but we all realise that in very many cases that are not so urgent, there are long waiting periods.

Mr. John Rodgers

If the figures are not available, can the hon. Gentleman explain how he knows that the position is improving?

Mr. Blenkinsop

I have said that we know the position is improving throughout the country. I have given figures about the general staffing situation in debates in the House, especially in Adjournment debates, on several occasions.

41. Dr. Barnett Stross

asked the Minister of Health how many cases of pulmonary tuberculosis were notified in Stoke-on-Trent in the years 1919, 1929, 1939 and 1949; and the number of deaths, without including cases where tuberculosis was secondary only to silicosis or pneumoconiosis.

Mr. Blenkinsop

The numbers of cases notified in 1919, 1929, 1939 and 1949 were 748, 641, 269 and 422 respectively. The numbers of deaths, including deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis associated with silicosis and pneumoconiosis for which separate figures are not available, were 288, 291, 204, and 144 respectively, but the first three figures should be reduced by about 3 per cent. for comparison with 1949, because of a change in the method of classification introduced in 1940.

Dr. Stross

Is my right hon. Friend aware that early diagnosis, suitable treatment and isolation are not enough in themselves, and that perhaps the best way of protecting the public is by maintaining full employment and a rising standard of life?

Mr. Blenkinsop

We fully realise the importance of early treatment as well as full employment, and we also realise the value of the mass radiography service which has been developed so rapidly.

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