HC Deb 13 February 1961 vol 634 cc929-30
43. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Health in view of the varying sizes of teaspoons, if he will give instructions that the specific amounts to be taken should be stated in cases where bottles of medicine issued under the National Health Service carry a warning that it is dangerous to exceed the stated dose.

Miss Pitt

No, Sir. Few patients have appropriately graduated measures, and inaccuracies in using them might be as large as the variation in size of teaspoons.

Mr. Dodds

Is the hon. Lady aware that with the different sizes of teaspoons it is possible that one person's dose may be two, three or even more times that of another's? If there is a notice on the bottle saying that it is dangerous to exceed the stated dose, does not the position I have outlined make nonsense of the notice? If so, can something be done to tidy this up? Is she aware that I have received many letters from knowledgeable people saying that she misled the House last week when she answered a Question about teaspoons?

Miss Pitt

No, and I think that the hon. Gentleman is misleading himself because the notice to the effect that it is dangerous to exceed the stated dose does not appear on any prescriptions dispensed under the National Health Service. It does appear on proprietaries in certain cases which include dangerous drugs. In any event, if a standard measure were available there would always be the individual who put in less than the appropriate amount and there would always be somebody who would contrive to overfill the measure, especially with a heavy liquid.

Mr. Woodburn

Is there any standard measure called "a teaspoonful" which is recognised in medical circles?

Miss Pitt

I believe that there is a standard measure, though it is not readily available.