HC Deb 01 June 1943 vol 390 cc32-5W
Mr. Viant

asked the Minister of Health what means are adopted by medical officers of fever hospitals to establish whether a diphtheria patient is immunised or unimmunised?

Mr. E. Brown

I am advised that a medical officer could only inform himself on the point referred to by inquiry.

Mr. Leach

asked the Minister of Health whether all medical officers of health keep registers of children in their areas immunised against diphtheria; whether such records include children immunised by private practitioners or by practitioners in other districts; and whether, in sending in particulars of immunisation, the numbers of children previously immunised but then reaching the age of 15 or over are deducted from the totals?

Mr. Brown

The returns which a local authority is asked to make to my Department, and the records which the medical officer of health therefore needs to keep for this purpose, relate to children immunised in the authority's own area under its own arrangements for free immunisation. The information asked for in the returns is the number of children thus immunised in the period to which the return relates and who were at the time of immunisation under 15 years of age.

Mr. Viant

asked the Minister of Health what was the average annual number of cases of diphtheria notified in Greater London in the periods 1910–19 and 1920–29; what were the notifications for each of the years 1930–42; what was the average annual number of deaths from diphtheria in Greater London in the periods 1910–19 and 1920–29; and how many of such deaths were recorded in each of the years 1930–42 in Greater London?

Mr. Brown

The attached table shows the numbers of cases of diphtheria notified in Greater London in each from 1932 and also the annual number of deaths from that disease in the same area from 1920. Greater London was not an area designated for the purpose of these classifications before 1932 and 1920 respectively.

Notifications. Deaths.
1920–1929 (annual average) 1,201
1930 801
1931 462
1932 11,643 470
1933 13,913 614
1934 18,694 849
1935 15,309 545
1936 11,211 414
1937 12,354 392
1938 12,351 399
1939 6,455 214
1940 3,915 165
1941 4,066 203
1942 3,394 131

Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Minister of Health what period his memorandum on Northamptonshire diphtheria and immunisation covers; of the 36,250 children immunised, how many were immunised in 1941 and how many in 1942; of the 8,000 children under five years of age who were immunised, how many were done in 1941 and how many in 1942; how many of the 101 cases of, and 15 deaths from, diphtheria occurred in 1941 and how many in 1942 and, if he has not this information in his records, whether he will obtain it from the county medical officer of health who collected it from the district medical officers; and to what period do the immunisation figures of 46 per cent. under five, and 74 per cent. between five and 15 years apply?

Mr. Brown

The Press notice referred to related to the period January, 1941, to December, 1942, and the percentages mentioned in the last part of the Question to the estimated position on 31st December, 1942. As regards the remaining parts of the Question I should not be justified in putting the county medical officer to the additional labour of analysing his figures further.

Mr. Edwards

asked the Minister of Health whether he will publish the returns regarding diphtheria immunisation and diphtheria cases which at various dates he called for from local medical officers of health, seeing that the information they contain is of great interest to a large section of the public?

Mr. Brown

No, Sir. The percentage in the returns are estimates only, which are made for me in order that the progress of the immunisation campaign may be roughly assessed. As indicated in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) on 27th May, I do not consider I should be justified in publishing the estimates.

Mr. Edwards

asked the Minister of Health how many cases of diphtheria were recorded in the 145 localities of the Eastern Region; how many deaths from diphtheria; how many of the 145 localities had any diphtheria cases; what period was covered by the return referred to; and how many immunised cases of diphtheria occurred during this period?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend does not state the period for which he desires information, or make clear what return is referred to in the third part of the Question. In any case I do not feel that the heavy task involved in specially extracting statistics on this basis would be justified.