HC Deb 22 April 1926 vol 194 cc1403-6W

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that when men are being taken on at the Lochaber water-power scheme the firm compel the men to accept the firm's doctor as their panel doctor, by supplying medical insurance forms already filled up by the firm, which the men are given to sign; and whether he will take steps to ensure that the right of free selection is given the men under the Health Insurance Acts?


I am not aware that the practice of the contractors is as stated, but if the hon. Member will furnish me with any specific instances which he has in mind, I will have inquiry made.


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the deputy officer for health for the district in which the Lochaber water-power scheme is being constructed is doctor far the contractor responsible for this scheme and that he also holds the following additional appointments: panel doctor, medical referee under the Compensation Acts, medical officer to the burgh of Fort William, medical officer to the parish of Kilmallie, and medical practitioner in charge of Belford hospital, where all serious accidents on the Lochaber waterpower scheme are treated; whether he is aware that the hospital accommodation is insufficient to meet the requirements of the number of men employed on work involving considerable risk; and whether he will take steps to see that the accommodation is adequate to meet the circumstances of the case?


I am aware that the local medical officer of health for the district holds the appointments referred to in the first part of the question. I am also aware that additional hospital accommodation would be of advantage in the district, and I have been in communication with the District Committee and the contractors in regard to steps which are being taken to provide this further accommodation.


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that all men starting on the Lochaber water-power scheme have to submit to a private examination by the contractors' medical officer; that at Ferset Camp, which has been occupied at times by 140 men during the last 11 months, there are no washing or drying facilities for the workmen employed; that at Ferset Camp the men have not had a change of bedding since November, 1925, and that men starting on this job have issued to them beds and bedding previously issued to other men, and not in a fit state for further use; whether he has received any report from the medical officer of health concerned as to the sanitary and feeding arrangements at this camp; and whether he is satisfied with such report?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In regard to the second part, I am informed that at Ferset Camp, at which the average number of men resident during the last six mouths was 68 per day, there are washing facilities with hot and cold water, that a shower bath has been installed, and that there is a drying shed at the working shaft close to the camp. In reply to the third part, I am informed that beds and bedding are changed regularly and that all new arrivals are supplied with clean blankets and bedding from store. All beds and bedding are subject to daily inspection, and there is suitable apparatus for disinfection if necessary. The Scottish Board of Health receive weekly reports from the local medical officer of health on the conditions at the various camps, and the Board's own officers visit from time to time. The Board are satisfied from these reports as to the sanitary conditions or catering arrangements of the camps.


asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the firm conducting the Lochaber water-power scheme are conducting a sweepstake as an additional inducement to the men employed on this scheme to increase their output in blasting operations when using liquid oxygen as an explosive; and

County. Above 1 and not exceeding 50 acres. Above 50 exceeding not 100 acres. Above 100 and not exceeding 150 acres. Above 150 acres.
Owned or mainly owned. Rented or mainly rented. Owned or mainly owned. Rented or mainly rented. Owned or mainly owned. Rented or mainly rented. Owned or mainly owned. Rented or mainly rented.
Anglesey 377 3,142 60 408 33 139 35 124
Brecon 170 1,043 132 563 57 291 67 199
Cardigan 803 3,436 254 854 98 354 34 185
Carmarthen 877 4,496 368 1,649 170 601 60 280
Carnarvon 571 4,430 71 490 24 156 10 125
Denbigh 594 3,407 187 818 69 342 49 237
Flint 445 2,161 97 329 41 144 26 107
Glamorgan 304 2,998 96 839 25 299 17 228
Merioneth 212 1,742 70 539 24 180 14 120
Monmouth 614 2,103 159 571 83 240 87 259
Montgomery 612 2,895 253 787 108 332 73 249
Pembroke 745 3,175 213 726 129 362 100 314
Radnor 214 958 91 381 64 207 65 228

The returns are not tabulated so as to give the number of holdings of 100 to 200 acres and above 200 respectively. Information as to the acreage occupied by owners was not collected in 1925.

whether there are any regulations governing the conduct of a sweepstake in industrial undertakings, especially when men are using what is believed to he a dangerous explosive?


I am informed that there is no foundation for the statement that the firm are conducting a sweepstake. A sweepstake was got up by the men, but the firm had nothing to do with it. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

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