HC Deb 28 November 1950 vol 481 cc931-3
31. Mr. William Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total number of cases of pulmonary tuberculosis notified in the City of Glasgow in the years 1939 and 1949.

Miss Herbison

There were 1,574 cases in 1939 and 2,829 cases in 1949.

Mr. Reid

While thanking my hon. Friend for her reply, may I ask whether she is aware that the tuberculosis rate in Glasgow is worse than in any comparable city in the United Kingdom, and will she consider the advisability of instituting a crisis expansion of the tuberculosis services in that city?

Miss Herbison

It is true that the tuberculosis rate in Glasgow is very high, but my hon. Friend will be glad to know that in 1950 we expect notifications of the disease to be 10 per cent. fewer than in 1949 and the mortality rate to be 20 per cent. less. I assure my hon. Friend that many steps have been taken that could be called "crisis" steps.

Mr. Gerald Williams

As a first step, will the Secretary of State consider sending these people for treatment to Switzerland, where nurses, beds and treatment are readily available at a cost of only 30s. more than in this country?

Mr. Speaker

That is a wider question entirely. The original Question asked only the total number of cases.

35. Sir David Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that 5.6 persons per thousand of the population of Caithness are suffering from tuberculosis, and that the latest figures indicate that the disease is increasing in Caithness; and what special steps he is taking to deal with this matter.

Miss Herbison

The position in Caithness is more favourable than in Scotland as a whole. The total number of cases notified in the county is fewer than 50 a year, with no marked trend in either direction over the last five years. My right hon. Friend has approved proposals by the county council for offering B.C.G. vaccination to tuberculosis contacts, and Caithness will of course benefit from the steps now being taken to intensify and expand the measures to deal with tuberculosis in Scotland generally.

Sir D. Robertson

Is the hon. Lady aware that I have in my possession a letter from the Medical Officer of Health for Caithness, supported by all the other doctors, stating that they are most anxious about the situation and that many more than 50 people are awaiting admission, but that there are only 10 beds in the whole of the county and that doctors will not put people on to the lists because to do so would simply be a farce when there is no chance of their obtaining admission?

Mr. G. Williams

Why not send them to Switzerland?

Miss Herbison

My information is that at present 10 patients are awaiting admission to hospital in the area to which the hon. Member refers. If he has any additional information, I shall be glad to have it.

Sir D. Robertson

If there are only 10 beds in the county, obviously it is useless for doctors to put down additional names for whom there would be no hope of gaining admission.

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