HC Deb 13 June 1977 vol 933 cc19-20W
Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what screening for tuberculosis exists of immigrants entering the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what action he is taking to increase vaccination against tuberculosis of immigrants, especially children, entering the United Kingdom who have no immunity.

Mr. Moyle

Foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens coming to settle in this country are normally seen at ports of entry by a medical inspector appointed under the Immigration Act 1971. Arrangements have also been made in most Commonwealth countries for the local medical examination of applicants for employment vouchers or entry certificates. These arrangements include X-ray examination where necessary.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended that immigrant children should be vaccinated with BCG either as soon as practicable after entry to this country or at birth if born in this country. This advise was circulated to all doctors by the Chief Medical Officer in October 1975. In the following year in England some 13,000 children—immigrants and others—were vaccinated with BCG at birth and over 550,000 under the school children and students scheme. The problem is being kept under close review in consultation with medical officers for environmental health.