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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?