§ 30. Sir HENRY CRAIK
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he can specify the 2034 Manchester Committee which brought a, charge against the medical profession in Lancashire of encouraging malingering; whether he is aware that the Manchester Medical Insurance Committee repudiates the charge; and if he will state upon what evidence the charge was founded?
My right hon. Friend did not refer to the Manchester Local Medical Committee, nor did he say that any Manchester Committee had made a charge against the medical profession in Lancashire of encouraging malingering. He was informed that the doctors on the Manchester Insurance Committee had themselves proposed that a Committee consisting of an equal number of themselves and of representatives of insured persons should discuss any complaints on this subject, and he said that if the hon. Member would consult that Committee he should be very glad to hear the result. With regard to the last part of the question he can only repeat that a disproportionate number of complaints have been received from societies with branches in Lancashire. My right hon. Friend may add, as an example, that in an investigation made by one approved society as to the number of districts in which doctors appear to be giving certificates where the member is not really incapacitated, while Scotland is 5 per cent., and South-East England 5 per cent., East Lancashire rises to 57 per cent., and West Lancashire to 53 per cent. The whole subject will form a matter of inquiry before the Departmental Committee to be appointed.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Does the hon. Gentleman accept the suggestion that there are other circumstances than want of good faith or conscientious action on the part of the doctors that might lead to these statistics? [HON. MEMBERS: "What are they?"]
All the circumstances which have led to these figures will be investigated by the Departmental Committee.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Do I understand that the hon. Member withdraws the charge against the medical profession, which a large number of hon. Members understood that he made?
I think the hon. Member had better refer to the actual terms of the statement made by my right hon. Friend, and he will see that it conveys no charge whatever.
§ Sir J. RANDLES
Has the right hon. Gentleman been in communication with the Medical Association of Manchester on this point, because I know that they feel very sore about it?
If the hon. Member refers to the Medical Committee of Manchester, they have forwarded a resolution to my right hon. Friend.
§ 31. Mr. MORRELL
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been drawn to the protest made by Lancashire doctors against the statement recently made by him that they have not administered the National Insurance Act fairly, and to their demand that medical referees should be appointed by the Government to visit and inquire into disputed cases; and whether he will consider the advisability of adopting this proposal?
hake already answered the first part of my hon. Friend's question. The appointment of medical referees is being most carefully considered.