Workers from Ireland.

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health. – in the House of Commons on 22nd January 1942.

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Photo of Flight Lieut Wavell Wakefield Flight Lieut Wavell Wakefield , Swindon

asked the Minister of Health whether he is now in a position to state what steps have been initiated to prevent workers coming from Ireland in a verminous state, with scabies, venereal disease, tuberculosis, or other contagious infection which may be injurious to the health of the people of this country?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

As my hon. Friend is aware, there is no regular system of medical examination in Eire or Northern Ireland of workers engaged by employers for work in this country, and it is not practicable, therefore, wholly to prevent transference of particular individuals whose state of health makes it undesirable. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service and I are fully alive to the need of safeguarding the public health in this country, and arrangements have been made for medical examination of the workers concerned as soon as they arrive at the site which my hon. Friend doubtless has in mind.

Photo of Flight Lieut Wavell Wakefield Flight Lieut Wavell Wakefield , Swindon

While I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, does he realise that there is very real anxiety throughout the country about the present state of affairs, and can he take action to see that there is a medical examination before they get to the site?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

My hon. Friend will understand that there is a difficulty because the machinery and powers of the port health authorities are primarily concerned with infectious diseases liable to cause epidemics, but we are sympathetic about the matter and think that action on the site is the best method.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

Will my right hon. Friend send an inspector to see the serious conditions brought about by this method?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I think we have done that.