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The National Radium Trust and Commission

    Naturevolume 162pages288289 (1948) | Download Citation



    WITH the coming into force of the National Health Act on July 5, the affairs of the National Radium Trust and the Radium Commission are being wound up. The two bodies were established by Royal Charter issued under Letters Patent of July 25, 1929. The functions of the Trust were primarily to augment the supply of radium (and later, by supplemental Charter, other radiotherapeutic apparatus) for use "in relation to the treatment of the sick in Great Britain" and "the advancement of knowledge of the best methods of rendering such treatment". The main duty of the Commission was "to make arrangements for the proper custody, equitable distribution, and full use of the radium . . . of the Trust with the object of promoting the treatment of the sick . . . and to make such arrangements for the supply on loan of the radium . . . as are necessary". When the Commission started work it was generally admitted that radium treatment in Great Britain had not attained the standard then reached by such centres as the Fondation Curie and the Radiumhemmet. During the last nineteen years, however, some of the national (university) radium centres set up by the Commission have achieved a reputation equal to the best anywhere in the world. At the same time, the standard of radiotherapy in general has been raised by the policy of centralization pursued by the Commission. Hospitals with small radiotherapy departments have been advised to make agreements with a national centre for the treatment of their patients, and the formation of small independent centres has been consistently discouraged. The present health organisation requires that the work hitherto done by the Trust and the Commission shall in future be undertaken partly by a Ministry of Health committee, and partly by the regional hospital boards. It is deemed advisable, therefore, that the radium and other radioactive substances, apparatus, appliances, funds and property belonging to the Trust and the Commission shall be dealt with by vesting them in the Minister of Health, or the Secretary of State for Scotland, as may be appropriate. The Royal Charter and the three Supplemental Charters are to be surrendered.

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