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subcommittee of the Interdepartmental Standing Committeeon Medical and Nutritional Problems ; and what were theirrecommendations.-Miss PATRICIA HORNSBY-SMITH, parlia-mentary secretary to the Ministry, replied : The report onthe tests, a purely factual one, was received on March 12,1954. The appropriate subcommittee of the Interdepart-mental Standing Committee discussed it on April 27, 1954,and agreed that before they could pursue their discussionsthe Medical Research Council should be asked to examine itfurther. The subcommittee will meet again to discuss thereport when the results of this further examination are
available.Mr. DODDS: When is it expected that this long business
will come to an end so that the public will know somethingabout this very important matter ?-Miss HoRNSBY-SMITH :There is no desire to delay it. The report of the subcommitteewas referred back to the Medical Research Council as thisis a matter for very careful medical investigation. We canonly await their report, but we hope that it will be recon-sidered by the subcommittee in November.
PoliomyelitisMr. KENNETH THOMPSON asked the Minister what evidence
he had suggesting that poliomyelitis was spread by fliescarrying a virus ; and what proposals he had for reducingthe number of flies.-Miss HoRNSBY-SMiTH replied : I amadvised that spread of poliomyelitis is usually by humancontacts and that spread by flies has not been proved althoughthey are sometimes contaminated with the virus. It is partof the normal work of local authorities to improve fly controlby sanitary measures.
Identification of Babies in Maternity HospitalsReplying to questions proposing the introduction of a better
system in maternity hospitals to ensure that newly borninfants are not assigned to the wrong mothers, Miss HORNSBY-S3,IITH said that it was a matter of concern that any suchmistake should occur, but everything showed that those whichhad recently been publicised were due to the human factorand not to defective systems of identification. The Ministerhad considered the suggestions made but did not consider thatcentral or uniform regulations would assist in preventing error.Lieut.-Colonel MARCUS LIPTON : Will the Minister agree
that the method of slapping on a little bit of adhesive tapeas a means of identification is not very satisfactory ? Is itnot possible to devise a rather more foolproof method ?-Miss HoBNSBv-SMiTH : I agree with the hon. Member aboutthe distressing nature of these cases, but they are rare., Outof 350,000 cases per annum the methods for identificationare generally satisfactory. Mr. SOMERVILLE HUSTINGS :
’, While admitting the dangers of the human element, does the’ Minister not think it necessary that there should be a double
check in each case ?
Preventive Care of Children’
Brigadier FRANK MEDLICOTT asked the Home Secretary if,in view of the serious increase in the numbers of children
, taken into public care as the result of the break-up of families,
I he would consider introducing legislation to enable localauthorities to provide funds for family case-work directedtowards this growing social problem.-Major GWILYM LLOYD-
I GEORGE replied : While local authorities already possess some
. powers to undertake social case-work with families, the waysi m which existing methods might be improved are being kept
I undex review in consultation with the departments concerned.I have no evidence to indicate that there is a serious increase
, m the numbers of children coming into public care becauseof break-up of families.
Chi-ropody ServicesReplying to a question, Mr. MACLEOD, Minister ef
Health, said that local authorities could, with his approval,provide a chiropody service, or contribute to a voluntary
’ organisation for this purpose, as part of their arrangements’ four the prevention of illness, care, and aftercare, underaction 28 of the National Health Service Act, 1946; but inpresent financial circumstances he was unable to approveany extended direct provision of this service. They couldat their discretion make arrangements for chiropody at homesprovided under part ill of the National Assistance Act, 1948,
, t persons in need of care and attention not otherwise
I a. diiabte to them, by virtue of the definition of accommodation
JI art section 21 (5) of the Act as including, so far as might be’ "-"’.f-ssary, other services, amenities, and requisites..
Mortality in 1953THE expeditious publication of the Registrar-General’s
Statistical Review for 1953 1 marks a further step in thepost-war acceleration in presenting these reports, whosecontents are now both timely and useful.At 11-4 per 1000 the death-rate for 1953 is practically
the same as for 1952. Compared with 1938, the death-rate at ages under 5 has been halved, although therehas been no improvement over 1952. Much of this comesfrom dramatic falls in all the infectious illnesses exceptpoliomyelitis. Last year there were only 23 deaths fromdiphtheriaŅ1 for every 100 in 1938. Particularlyamong women, the death-rate from tuberculosis hasfallen rapidly since 1947 ; it is now about a third ofits 1938 level. Unfortunately, the notification-rate ofnew tuberculous infections is not given in the Registrar-General’s report, so we have no indication of the1953 trends in morbidity, as opposed to mortality, fromthis most important of infectious diseases.The death-rates from thyrotoxicosis, diabetes, and
pernicious anaemia have declined greatly in recent years.Multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, which are each responsiblefor about 800 deaths, have, for less obvious reasons,death-rates for males about a half as high as in 1938 ;but there has been a slight rise in the death-rate frommultiple sclerosis among females. Among the cardio-vascular diseases certain small groups, such as acuteendocarditis, share the decline due to the conquest ofinfection since 1938 ; death-rates for diseases of thecirculatory system as a whole have increased by about6 % in men and declined by the same amount in women.The same divergence between the sexes appears in chronicbronchitis, which has maintained the same level as acause of death among men but is less, by a third, amongwomen. For pneumonia where, on the other hand, ther6le of infection is more obvious, the death-rate hasdeclined by a third in both sexes. That life is notnecessarily any easier for the country’s women is suggestedby the greater increase in mortality from duodenal ulcera-tion and vascular disorders of the central nervous systemobserved among them, and the fact that while thesuicide-rate among women is 11 % less than in 1938, themen’s rate has dropped by 26 %.
Similar curious discrepancies appear in the cancer
mortality of the sexes. Although the death-rate frommalignant disease of the mouth, pharynx, digestive tract,and skin has fallen in both sexes, the total cancer death-rate has risen by 13 % since 1938 among men and fallenby 8 % among women. This divergence is the net resultof the relatively greater rise in the death-rate from lungcancer among men and the small but definite decreasein mortality from uterus and breast cancers among women.These inconsistencies of mortality trends in cancer mayyet uncover environmental changes determining thecourse of mortality due to cancer of specific sites. If
smoking be the cause of the male excess and risingincidence of lung cancer, what, for example, is the reasonfor the 80 % increase in recent years among both menand women in the death-rate from leukaemia ?
Second Quarter in EireBirths registered in Eire during the second quarter
of this year 2 numbered 16,142, representing a birth-rate of 22-0 per 1000 population, which was 08 below therate for the second quarter of 1953. Deaths totalled8861, which is equivalent to an annual death-rate of12-1 per 1000 population, the same as in the correspond-ing quarter last year. Deaths from all forms of tuber-culosis numbered 291-a rate of 0-4 per 1000 population :the corresponding rate in the second quarter of 1953was 0-5. The maternal-mortality rate was 10 per 1000registered births, as against 0-7 in the correspondingquarter last year. There were 589 deaths of infantsunder one year of age-an infant-mortality rate of 3Cper 1000 registered births.1. Registrar-General’s Statistical Review of England and Wales
for the year 1953. Tables. Part I. Medical. H.M. StationeryOffice. 1954. Pp. 365. 10s.
2. Quarterly Return of the Marriages, Births and Deaths. Obtainablefrom the Government Publications Sale Office, G.P.O. Arcade.Dublin. Pp. 31. 6d.