HC Deb 09 April 1913 vol 51 cc1172-3
65. Mr. NEWMAN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it has been brought to his notice that insurance committees, in refusing applicants desirous of making their own medical arrangements, are in the habit of assigning no reason for their inability to comply with the request of the insured person, but merely warn the applicant that, failing making a selection by the 31st ultimo, he will be liable to distribution among doctors on the panel; and whether, in view of the fact that each application is considered on its merits, he will explain why the reason for refusal is not stated in the reply?


An insurance committee is under no obligation to explain in each individual case the reasons for refusing an application from an insured person for permission to make his own arrangements for medical attendance and treatment. The general policy which I believe is guiding insurance committees in dealing with such applications is indicated in the Memorandum on the subject issued by the Commissioners, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.


Surely, as a matter of courtesy, the insurance committees might give this information to insured persons; it would not cost anything.

71. Mr. THOMAS

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether an approved member claiming insurance benefit, declaring sickness on a Monday and declaring off on the following Saturday, thereby only being entitled to three days' sick pay, is compelled under the National Insurance Act to provide three medical certificates for the period; and, if so, whether he will take steps to stop such proceeding, which can only have the effect of preventing members from receiving the benefits to which they are entitled?


The question of the evidence to be required in connection with a claim for sickness benefit must be determined by the society administering the benefit, subject to an appeal to the Commissioners under Section 67 of the Act. I see no reason why in any case in the circumstances stated a society should require three medical certificates.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether, owing to the delicacy of the panel doctors' position in relation to persons insured under the National Insurance Act, it is being found increasingly difficult in Gloucestershire and elsewhere to check malingering, and that in Bristol a medical referee has been appointed with this object by the insurance committee with the approval of the approved societies in that city; and whether the Insurance Commissioners favour the same course being adopted in other administrative areas?


The matters referred to in the hon. Member's question are receiving the careful attention of the Commissioners.