HC Deb 20 April 1959 vol 604 cc31-2
50. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Health what proportion of the children entitled to the welfare issue of milk, orange juice, and cod liver oil are now receiving these benefits; and if he is satisfied that generally there are no serious deficiencies in the use of such protective foods.

Mr. R. Thompson

I regret that separate information is not available for children. Of all who are eligible, including expectant mothers, practically everyone receives welfare milk; and in 1958 the orange juice and cod liver oil issued was estimated to be 39 per cent. and 9 per cent. respectively of the total possible consumption. My right hon. and learned Friend is satisfied that generally there are no serious deficiencies resulting from lack of protective foods but the position is being watched.

Sir A. Hurd

In view of the rather low proportions which my hon. Friend has just mentioned, will he say whether his medical advisers take the view that, because of the much wider range of protective foods now available to everybody at reasonable cost, there are no deficiencies arising because these supplementary welfare foods are not being taken up in full?

Mr. Thompson

That is certainly broadly the case. The much better standard of food available to these classes of persons generally since the beginning of the scheme nearly twenty years ago has a marked bearing on the subject.

Dr. Summerskill

Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree that signs of deficiency disease will not manifest themselves for some years after shortage of food? Will he say what his scientific advisers are advising him to do at present in the light of the shortage of what is known as uptake?

Mr. Thompson

That is something which our scientific and medical advisers, who are very good, have certainly considered, and I have no doubt that they have borne it in mind in the advice that they have given us.