HC Deb 03 August 1944 vol 402 cc1642-3W
Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Minister of Health why Mrs. Mapother was authorised by him to visit people living in the Hungerford district to make enquiries about their health and past illnesses without consulting their local doctor who attended them; and whether he will stop these proceedings in future.

Mr. Willink

The lady named is a representative of the War-time Social Survey of the Ministry of Information, which since January has been carrying out, on behalf of my Department, a sampling inquiry in England and Wales. The object is to assess the amount of ill-health, including minor illness which does not necessarily come under treatment by a doctor and is not otherwise recorded. This survey is providing information which is essential to a proper understanding of health statistics and which cannot be obtained in any other way. I could not agree to stop the survey, but any information given by people in response to it is given entirely voluntarily, and experience has shown that practically everyone approached has been very willing to be helpful.

Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Health why representatives of his Ministry have been visiting private citizens questioning them regarding their medical history and marital relations, enquiring whether they were satisfied with their doctor and other medical services and how many rooms they had, etc., on the grounds that the Government required this information for post-war planning for social security and giving the impression that compliance was compulsory; and whether he will countermand these activities.

Mr. Willink

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply, of which I am sending him a copy, which I gave to-day to a similar Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newbury (Brig.-General Clifton Brown).