§ Sir I. Albery
asked the Home Secretary whether he has any change to announce in Government shelter policy, in view of the advice publicly given by Lord Horder, that the best air-raid shelter is in the home?44W
§ Sir I. Albery
asked the Home Secretary whether he can give any figures showing to what extent brick surface shelters are made use of?
§ Miss Wilkinson
The figures are not available on which it would be possible to base any reasonably accurate estimate
§ Mr. Benson
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that effective preparations are now available for protection against lice; and whether he proposes to take steps to prevent the spread of lice in air-raid shelters?
Mr. M. MacDonald
Supplies of an insecticide selected as the result of experiment have been issued to the local authorities of the areas in which people habitually sleep in public shelters. The best protection against lice is cleanliness, and local authorities have been urged to ensure that their cleansing facilities are adequate to meet the additional needs of shelterers in their areas. Compulsory powers to delouse and cleanse the persons and effects of shelterers have been obtained, and other steps to prevent the spread of lice in shelters have been taken or are under consideration.
§ Mr. G. Strauss
asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the serious inconvenience caused to shelterers who live at a distance from their shelters, and who have to go to their work very early, in having to take their bedding every morning through the black-out, and possibly in the rain, from their shelter to their homes, he will arrange with local authorities that, wherever possible, depots should be established in empty shops, or other convenient places, close to the shelters where bedding can be left during the day?
The question how best to deal with shelterers' bedding has been under active consideration, and informal discussions have taken place with representatives of the local authorities in the London Civil Defence Region. The matter raises a number of difficulties which I am making every endeavour to overcome in consultation with the regional commissioners, the local authorities, and my own medical advisers.
asked the Minister of Health whether he will issue, or cause to 45W be issued, large size posters for the guidance of those in shelters in sanitary health and other matters?
Yes, Sir. A number of posters have been produced, both directly and through the Central Council for Health Education, and are being distributed to the responsible local authorities.
asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he has taken any steps for the improvement of shelter sanitation other than impressing upon local councils the need for diligence on their part, as recommended in the Departmental circulars; and whether he has taken power to apply compulsion on recalcitrant local authorities to safeguard the nation's health;
(2) what arrangements are being made to compel local authorities to appoint an adequate number of medical practitioners for the supervision of public air-raid shelters throughout the country and, in particular, in London where, after the lapse of several weeks from the date of issue of his Department's Circular No. 2190, the City of London and Metropolitan Boroughs had only appointed a few medical practitioners and had only secured 337 for attendance at shelters; and is he aware that there is great dissatisfaction among the 337 medical practitioners whose services have been secured for attendance owing to uncertainty as to the terms of their appointment?
The executive responsibility for securing the provision of adequate medical and sanitary services in public shelters regularly used for sleeping has now been devolved upon the Regional Commissioners. They have the assistance of their inspectors, both medical and sanitary. If in any particular area the Commissioner were to be dissatisfied with the progress made by the local authority it would be open to him to recommend that the authority be superseded. In the City of London and the Metropolitan Boroughs eight doctors are in whole time attendance at shelters, 159 more are under contract to visit shelters each night, and a further 308 are on call. The terms of service for each of these three classes are set out in the Circular mentioned by the hon. Member, and I am not aware that there is any general dissatisfaction among the doctors whose services have been obtained.46W
asked the Minister of Health whether he has advised, and what steps have been taken to ensure, that certain sections of shelters shall be set aside for the sick; whether such sections are to be curtained off or otherwise divided from the main shelter; and how many local authorities made such adequate arrangements?
Local authorities in the London Civil Defence Region have been requested to provide and equip, in each large shelter or group of smaller shelters regularly used at night, a medical aid post screened off from the main part of the shelter. Medical officers of the Ministry have conferred with these authorities with a view to ensuring adequate provision. In other regions the Ministry's officers have been instructed to ensure that similar arrangements are made where conditions indicate the necessity. Thirty-six local authorities have made or are completing provision on a scale which my medical advisers regard as adequate.
asked the Minister of Health whether he has recommended any particular form of sanitary convenience as most suitable for use in shelters; and, if so, whether this form is patented or otherwise?
Two specifications for closets suitable for air-raid shelters were prepared by the British Standards Institution, and were issued for the guidance of local authorities by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council when he was Minister of Home Security. The first specification was issued in September, 1939 (BS /A.R.P. 5). A second and simpler one (BS /A.R.P. 43) was issued in April, 1940, and local authorities were then recommended to order future supplies to this specification. It is open to any manufacturer to make closets to these specifications.