HC Deb 27 May 1957 vol 571 c23
40. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Health what precautions are taken to prevent sufferers from tuberculosis entering this country, particularly from the West Indies.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

An alien can be medically examined and refused permission to land. There is no such restriction on British subjects, but investigations have failed to show any unusual incidence of tuberculosis among West Indians in this country.

Mr. Remnant

Does my hon. Friend not agree that, but for outside sources of infection coming into this country, this scourge can be eradicated comparatively simply, and, from whatever source it is coming, will he take steps to see that the time for eradicating the disease is not postponed?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

My hon. Friend ought to be aware of several factors in considering this situation. There have been in the last few years some vigorous campaigns for vaccination in the West Indian territories from which these immigrants come, and there have been investigations recently in London, Birmingham and West Bromwich, where there are considerable numbers of West Indians, which have, frankly, shown no cause for alarm.

Dr. Stross

Is it not a fact that the essential problem here is not in people from the West Indies who are infected coming here, but that so many of them are negative reactors who have never been in contact with tuberculosis and run a very serious risk of infection when they come into our big cities? Is not the right attitude to take to give them protection as soon as they come here, and make certain that they have it?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

That is a very helpful question. Of course, West Indians may be susceptible on arrival, and, for that reason, those concerned in mass radiography units have been directing attention to where the West Indians are living.