HC Deb 20 February 1956 vol 549 cc27-9
42 and 43. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health (1) if, in view of the high incidence of pneumoconiosis in North Staffordshire, he will recommend the setting-up of a treatment centre in North Staffordshire;

(2) if his attention has been called to the incidence of pneumoconiosis amongst miners in North Staffordshire, as stated in the Digest of Pneumoconiosis Statistics for 1954; and what proposals are to be made for dealing with this problem.

62. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the incidence of pneumoconiosis amongst miners and pottery workers in the City of Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas, he will recommend the setting up of a treatment and health centre, with special attention for those who suffer from pneumoconiosis and similar industrial disease.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I would refer the hon. Members to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power on 6th February to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Dr. Stross). I am advised that there are adequate facilities for treatment at hospitals in Stoke-on-Trent and Market Drayton and at out-patient clinics at Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Mrs. Slater

Is the hon. Lady aware that there is grave concern in North Staffordshire at the figures which have recently been published in the Digest, and that the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Society of Pottery Workers and the Pottery Federation are concerned at the high incidence of pneumoconiosis? Is she also aware that they feel strongly that a treatment centre should be established in North Staffordshire, and that the National Union of Mineworkers has stated in a letter to my colleagues and myself that the miners in North Staffordshire should have the same treatment as those in South Wales?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I would not like it to be thought that the treatment is not available, when, in fact, it is provided at the general hospitals in the area. The regional hospital board always has to decide whether specialities ought to be put into one centre or dealt with in the general hospitals. In this area in-patient treatment is available at Stanfield Sanatorium, the City General Hospital, the Bradwell Isolation Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, and Cheshire Joint Sanatorium, Market Drayton; and there are out-patient clinics at Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, and at Newcastle-under-Lyme. Certainly, no representations have been received by my right hon. Friend from the miners' or pottery trade unions.

Mr. Ellis Smith

In view of the serious concern which has been expressed in letters received from the miners' and pottery workers' unions, will the Parliamentary Secretary consult her right hon. Friend with a view to considering the advisability of consulting the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Fuel and Power to decide what should be done about this serious problem?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I know that my right hon. Friend will consider what the hon. Gentleman has said. The fact remains that facilities are available in these general hospitals. If hon. Members have knowledge of any cases where treatment is not readily available, we shall be only too happy to look into them.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the hon. Lady ask her right hon. Friend to consult the Minister of Fuel and Power and get him to realise that the availability of treatment will have a big effect on recruitment to the industries? In view of the great success of the pneumoconiosis unit at Llandough, Cardiff, will she do what she can to get a similar one established in the potteries?