HC Deb 20 October 1942 vol 383 cc1856-7W
Mr. Leach

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that there were errors in regard to the vaccinal condition of five out of the 33 cases of smallpox which occurred in Glasgow, one said to have been vaccinated only in infancy having only been re-vaccinated in 1942, another said to have been vaccinated for the first time on 30th May, 1942, having been vaccinated in infancy, in 1940 and on 2nd June, 1942, that of three other cases said not to have been vaccinated two had been vaccinated in infancy and another in 1917; and, as there were other errors in regard to the dates of other vaccinations, whether he will insist that the Department of Health for Scotland ascertain all facts more accurately in future?

Mr. Johnston

I am aware that subsequent investigation elicited further information about the vaccination history of certain smallpox patients. The original statements of the patients and their friends were checked by further inquiries as pressure of work more essential to the control and eradication of the disease permitted. At any given date the Department of Health for Scotland can only ascertain from the local authority concerned the position according to the evidence then in the authority's possession.

Mr. Groves

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the serious risks likely to result from the failure of ships' doctors to notify cases of smallpox on vessels arriving in this country from overseas ports, as happened at Glasgow on 29th May last, he will consider the desirability of issuing a special memorandum to such doctors on the diagnosis of that disease?

Mr. Johnston

I am obliged to the hon. Member for his suggestion, which will be considered in current discussions between the Health Departments and the Ministry of War Transport regarding measures of protection against seaborne infection.