HC Deb 27 January 1958 vol 581 cc18-20W
109. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health if he is satisfied with the report made on the reasons why five patients developed clinical signs of tetanus, and why two patients died while in the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, Stoke-on-Trent; what further action he intends taking; and if he will consider the need for an independent investigation.

Mr. R. Thompson

As I understand that legal proceedings have been started on behalf of one of the patients in this case it would not be proper for me to comment at this stage.

111. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health if he will give the date upon which the outbreaks of tetanus occurred at the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, Stoke-on-Trent; the dates upon which undertakings were given in letters that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South would receive a copy of the investigation; why this has not been done; why the Press received copies of the report, or extracts from it, contrary to his letter dated 10th January, 1958, to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South; whether the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board considered the report prior to it being issued to the Press; and whether he will make a full explanatory statement.

Mr. R. Thompson

The symptoms appeared in the first case on 26th February last. So far as I can trace no undertaking has been given to the hon. Member other than the statement in the letter of 10th January that arrangements were being made with the Board to send him a copy of the report on the day they approved it. Subsequently the Board decided—as it was entitled to do—to send a copy in advance of its meeting on 22nd January both to the hon. Member and to the Press, and did so on 16th January.

112. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the investigation and researches into the outbreak of tetanus at the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary have failed to establish how the tetanus spores came to contaminate the operating theatres and infect some of the operated cases; and whether he will state as fully as possible how the investigation was carried out.

Mr. R. Thompson

The investigation included extensive bacteriological investigations of the plaster, dust and fittings of the operating theatre suite and of all items of equipment, dressings, catgut and gloves which had been in use in the theatre suite; inspection and check of all sterilising procedures in the hospital; an appraisal of all theatre techniques and discipline; and epidemiological research into all possible circumstances which it was considered might account for the occurrence of tetanus. These measures were taken by the appropriate medical staff of the hospital in consultation with Medical Officers of my Department, the Director of the Public Health Laboratory Service, Stafford, the Medical Officer of Health for Stoke-on-Trent, and officers of the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board.