HC Deb 22 March 1955 vol 538 cc177-8W
Mr. Ian Harvey

asked the Minister of Health whether he has any statement to make on the future of the Swiss sanatorium scheme for tuberculous patients from England and Wales.

Mr. Iain Macleod

We began to send patients to Davos in the autumn of 1951,when waiting lists for tuberculosis beds in England and Wales stood at over 7,000. The provisional figure for the end of 1954 is 2,500, and this of course includes a large number of patients who were on the point of being admitted at once. Several hospital regions now have virtually no waiting list. Some are closing tuberculosis beds or turning them over to other purposes.

Well over 900 patients from England and Wales have been sent to Swizerland by the National Health Service, and this has been a mostvaluable contribution to our work against respiratory tuberculosis. But taking into account the diminished pressure today on tuberculosis beds at home and our recent difficulty in finding enough suitable patients who are willing to go to Switzerland for their treatment, I am satisfied that there is no necessity to extend the scheme beyond this autumn, when our contracts with the sanatoria expire. Suitable arrangements will be made for winding it up so as not to discharge patients from the sanatoria in Davos before they are fit. I wish to add my thanks, and those of the patients we have sent, to the Sanatorium Angle-terre and the Park Sanatorium for the welcome they have given and the efforts they have made on our patients' behalf.