§ 8. Mr. Harper
asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what is the amount of moneys allocated to the Medical Research Council's Pneumoconiosis Research Unit for its work on diseases of the lungs due to airborne dust.
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth
The estimated expenditure in the Medical Research Council's Pneumoconiosis Research Unit in 1962–63 is approximately £105,000.
§ Mr. Harper
Surely that is not enough. Is the Minister aware that in 1962, 34 miners were found, after a post-mortem examination, to be suffering from the disease, although their X-ray plates had revealed no evidence of it, and that 57, whose X-ray plates indicated that they were suffering from the disease, were found, after a post-mortem examination, not to be suffering from it, making a total of 91 cases? Does the Minister think that this is a satisfactory service? In view of what I have said, will he do everything possible to provide more money for this research unit, so that it may be able to carry on its work more satisfactorily and give a more accurate service?
§ Mr. Freeth
I think it worth remembering that in 1960 a new unit, the epidemiological research unit was hived off from the pneumoconiosis research unit and on that in the current year an expenditure of an additional £26,000 has been undertaken there. The hon. Member will also be aware that researches into the diseases of the lung due to airborne dust are carried out at universities and hospitals under the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Freeth
I cannot accept that the research undertaken at present is inefficient. I have visited both these units and I was most impressed by the calibre of the people working there. The Medical Research Council has recently agreed to an extension of the unit's programme of investigation of airborne dusts. But in dealing with this difficult problem it is very much a question of finding a new lead-in and supporting it and not necessarily a question of expanding the type of work done at the moment.