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Home Accidents

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th December 1957.

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Photo of Mrs Patricia McLaughlin Mrs Patricia McLaughlin , Belfast West 12:00 am, 16th December 1957

asked the Minister of Health if he will make arrangements that all home accidents which require hospital treatment shall be reported to the local medical officer of health.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

My right hon. and learned Friend proposes in circulars to be sent to local health and hospital authorities shortly, to encourage the supply of information by hospitals to medical officers of health.

Photo of Mrs Patricia McLaughlin Mrs Patricia McLaughlin , Belfast West

May I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that reply, which is very encouraging indeed, as notification of this kind is very liable to lead to inspection of homes where accidents have taken place and to preventing further accidents in those homes?

Mrs. Jeger:

While also welcoming that statement, may I ask why the Minister is going only halfway, as it were, and merely encouraging hospitals to do this? Is he aware that several hospitals are already doing this, and is it not a sufficiently serious problem to make it obligatory for accidents involving hospital treatment to be notifiable?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

It is not proposed that hospital authorities should notify details of each casualty treated as a result of home injury, information which in any case would require the patient's consent before it could be transmitted.

Photo of Mrs Patricia McLaughlin Mrs Patricia McLaughlin , Belfast West

asked the Minister of Health how many fatal home accidents there were in 1956; and how many of these occurred in the under 5-yearold and the over 65-year-old age groups.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in 1956 from accidents in the home and residential institutions was 6,908; 688 of these deaths were in the under 5-yearold and 5,039 in the over 65-year-old age groups.

Photo of Mrs Patricia McLaughlin Mrs Patricia McLaughlin , Belfast West

asked the Minister of Health what has been the increase in fatal home accidents since 1951.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales from accidents in the home and residential institutions was 5,483 in 1951 and 6,908 in 1956.

Photo of Mrs Patricia McLaughlin Mrs Patricia McLaughlin , Belfast West

Is the Minister aware that this large increase in home accidents is causing great concern throughout the country? Will he take steps to consult other Departments to see what methods—such as publicity campaigns—might be put forward to help people to understand and to prevent many of these accidents happening?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

Yes, Sir, it is proposed to send a circular early next year to all local health authorities suggesting ways and means by which, in co-operation with other interested authorities and organisations, they might make their efforts to reduce home accidents more effective.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that most of these accidents are preventable by sufficient precautions being taken? Is he satisfied that his Department is showing sufficient energy in drawing that directly to the attention of the public?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

Yes, Sir. I think the measures we take will be adequate for that purpose. Many of these people are extremely elderly and are especially accident-prone.

Photo of Mr Anthony Fell Mr Anthony Fell , Yarmouth

I wonder if my hon. Friend has had a look at the question of the difference between protection given to electric fires and to gas fires? I think it true that a tremendous number of gas fires are still in use with no protection at all, whereas, on the whole, considerable protection is given to electric fires. Will my hon. Friend consider that?