HC Deb 08 July 1941 vol 373 c42W
Mr. Groves

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply whether he will inquire into the circumstances attending the fact that, in connection with basic pharmaceutical ingredients, the Chemical Defence Research Department, in July, 1940, when examining scientific products for the decontamination of eyes, arrived at certain conclusions without the presence or assistance of any qualified ophthalmologist; and whether he will have the matter further examined?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

Research on the medical treatment of gas casualties has been carried out in the Chemical Defence Research Department and elsewhere by teams of fully-qualified medical men, with the personal assistance and supervision of well-known research workers in the physiological and pharmacological fields. The findings of these workers have been subsequently scrutinised by a medical committee consisting of distinguished civilian specialists and Service medical men, to which additional specialists have been co-opted as occasion demanded. The increasing pressure of work on eye treatment was found in the summer of 1940 to necessitate the whole-time employment of an ophthalmological specialist, but owing to the difficulty of obtaining a suitably qualified man, this appointment could not be made until August, 1940. It was then also found possible to engage the assistance in addition of leading ophthalmologists working in independent laboratories. The intensive research which became possible as the result of these arrangements included a re-examination of all methods tried previously, in respect of which successful results had been claimed.