§ 23. Mr. Woodburn
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can now report any conclusions as a result of the investigation, initiated in 1949–50, into the causes of the exceptional figures for tuberculosis in Scotland.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
The expert committee which went into the question at the request of the right hon. Gentleman was unable to identify reasons for the exceptionally high incidence and death rates for respiratory tuberculosis in Scotland in the years immediately after the war. The further lines of inquiry suggested by the committee have not yet yielded results, and meanwhile the Scottish position has come more into line with experience in England and elsewhere.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Is the Secretary of State aware that, while progress has been made, the figures in Scotland are still distressing? Is he not prepared to ask the Advisory Committee on Medical Research to institute a thorough-going investigation into this problem to find the real causes of this incidence in Scotland?
§ Mr. Stuart
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Committee is fully aware of this matter and is making every effort to produce a solution. As I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, there has been a drop in notifications. I admit that it is not good enough, and I hope that we shall find ways of making better progress.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, scientifically, it is just not enough to accept such a drop as an act of God, when we know that the trouble is due to causes which may be prevented? Can the right hon. Gentleman not institute a really scientific investigation into the causes of this disease in Scotland?
§ Mr. Rankin
Are we to infer from that reply that this Committee is not accepting, as has been generally accepted, that evil housing conditions are a very serious contributory cause to the prevalence of tuberculosis?