HC Deb 24 March 1958 vol 585 c28
43. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health if he will give for the last year for which figures are available the percentage of the immigrants from Ireland who had had an X-ray examination of their chests before arrival, who had been tested for the tuberculin skin reaction, and who had received BCG vaccination, respectively.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Hastings

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that there is statistical evidence that the incidence of tuberculosis amongst Irish immigrants is between three and seven times that of the average population? Ought he not to make sure, by tuberculin tests and X-rays, whether these figures are confirmed or not, and, if they are, to press for BCG vaccination in order to immunise those who are likely to suffer from this disease? Is not that desirable in the interests both of the immigrants and of the people of this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am not quite clear about which statistics the hon. Member has in mind. I have the experience of two limited or sample sets of statistics which do not show that there is evidence of danger to health generally from such immigrants, at any rate in such an acute form as to justify me in proposing legislation to control immigration for this reason. As the hon. Member is aware, there is no power to refuse immigrants from the Irish Republic admission to this country because of the absence of X-ray reports or evidence of tuberculin testing.