British Food Journal Volume 39 Issue 11 1937
Article publication date: 1 November 1937
Mr. Robert Bernays, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, speaking at Leeds on October loth, at a meeting convened by the Lord Mayor in support of the National Health Campaign, said that the object of the campaign was nothing less than to improve the health, and with it the happiness—for the two were inseparable—of the whole nation. The growth of the social services had been remarkable. In 1900 the total expenditure was some £30,000,000, while at the present time it was over £400,000,000, of which three‐quarters was met from rates and taxes. It was natural to ask ourselves whether we were getting the fullest possible value for the financial sacrifices we were making. Remarkable as were the statistics of health improvement, it was idle to suggest that a great deal more could not be done. The campaign was being conducted to ensure that everyone should know the facilities available, where and when and how they could be obtained, and that they were open to all who would take advantage of them. We were endeavouring to overcome any inertia and lack of interest which still existed, and, if possible, to eradicate the fear which, in many cases, kept people from obtaining early advice and treatment. He felt sure that these objects could be attained if we could get the full co‐operation of the ordinary citizen, and particularly of the wife and mother. We were already assured of the active co‐operation of all those concerned in the provision of the various facilities including doctors, nurses, teachers and others who were so closely in touch with the homes of the people. Though the present campaign was being waged to encourage the greater use of existing health services, it must not be supposed that plans were not also being actively pursued for their further expansion. His first task, for instance, in the new session would be to assist Sir Kingsley Wood in the passage of yet another National Insurance Bill which would fill up the gap in medical attendance and supervision which at present existed between the time when a boy or girl left school at 14 and entered at 16 into insurable employment. These were two critical years of development and that they should be brought within the framework of health insurance was an urgent reform. Another line of progress that was being actively pursued was the possibilities of improved nutrition, the greater knowledge of the right type of food. The Government were most carefully examining the recently published report of the Mixed Committee on Nutrition presided over at Geneva by Lord Astor. As the spokesman of H.M. Government at this year's Assembly on the League Committee that discussed nutrition, Mr. Bernays was able to state with the full authority of the Government that we regarded that report at once as a challenge and an opportunity. That these were not just words was demonstrated by our Milk in Schools Scheme, instituted in 1934. Under that scheme more than 2¾ million children in public elementary school, or more than half the number of children on the register of these schools, were receiving a daily ration of milk at a reduced rate or in necessitous cases free. One of the objects of this campaign was to induce yet more parents and children to take advantage of that scheme. Following on the report of the National Advisory Committee on Nutrition some months ago, maternity and child welfare authorities had been urged to review their arrangements for the supply of milk and food to expectant mothers and young children so as to ensure that those in need of additional nourishment were able to secure it. In the present session of Parliament the Government hoped also to bring forward proposals for securing, in co‐operation with the industry, a reduction in the price of milk to local authorities who would thus be in a position to extend their present schemes and so secure increased consumption among this class. Thus it could be seen that this health campaign was no standstill arrangement. In the phraseology of the motor trade, we were commending to the nation the 1937 model of our health services, but we were not slackening an instant in our efforts to ensure that the 1938 model and that of subsequent years was an increasing improvement on what we were able to offer now.
(1937), "British Food Journal Volume 39 Issue 11 1937", British Food Journal, Vol. 39 No. 11, pp. 105-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb011312
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