HC Deb 15 March 1972 vol 833 c530
23. Mr. Robert Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is now prepared to issue a code of practice for the guidance of local authorities for the issue of certificates for free school milk to pupils over seven years of age, in view of the latest evidence relating to the position in Aberdeen.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

No, Sir. The decision whether a pupil's health requires that he should be provided with milk at school must depend on the clinical judgment of the medical officer. It would not be appropriate for me to attempt to influence that judgment and I would strongly deprecate any attempt by others to do so.

Mr. Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are two extreme examples in Aberdeen of the provision of milk: one is no child out of 632 pupils; the other is 321 out of 331 pupils? There are wide variations in between, a typical example being 90 out of 670. Do not figures of this sort show that a very difficult situation is arising and that the position of the medical officer of health is intolerable in having to try to make a proper assessment of all pupils in the city? Is not it time that the right hon. Gentleman issued clear guidance to local authorities in respect of medical examinations and the factors which may be taken into account? Clearly the whole concept is a monstrosity in that no equality of provision is being made.

Mr. Campbell

Clearly there must be some variation between various groups of children. But the position of medical officers is not intolerable, provided that it is left to their professional judgment to take these decisions.