HC Deb 13 March 1913 vol 50 cc395-7
24. Mr. TOUCHE

asked by what authority the Insurance Commissioners made Regulations restricting medical benefit to treatment of a kind which can be undertaken by a practitioner of ordinary professional competence and skill?


The Act under Section 15 confers upon an insured person the right to choose from a panel, which any general practitioner may join, the particular practitioner from whom he desires to receive medical attendance and treatment. The Commissioners have framed Regulations to carry this out by providing that every doctor on the panel shall give to the insured person for whose treatment he is responsible such treatment as is of a kind which can, consistently with the best interests of the patient, be properly undertaken by a general practitioner of ordinary professional competence and skill.


Is it not the case that Section 8 of the Act is perfectly general in its terms and entitles the insured person to medical treatment and attendance, whatever his illness may be, even in cases which require special treatment?


I think that is a question rather of legal interpretation. I think there is no doubt that the Act clearly sets out in Section 15 that the insured person shall choose his own practitioner to attend upon him, and that practitioner shall give the best attendance he can give.


Is that not subject to the general provisions in Section 8?

28. Colonel BURN

asked whether any, and, if so, what, arrangements have been made for dealing with the influx of insured persons to holiday or health resorts, so far as the medical attendance upon such insured persons is concerned; whether the panels at such resorts are sufficient to cope with this influx; will an insured person who requires medical attention whilst away on holiday be able to obtain such attention promptly; and, if so, what method is he or she to adopt, seeing that the services of a particular doctor have been chosen in the town of his or her permanent residence?


Any insured person who moves from the area of one insurance committee to that of another may, by giving notice to the committee of the area in which he moves, obtain medical attendance and treatment from a doctor on the panel in the latter area. The Commissioners recently convened a conference of representative doctors from the areas chiefly affected, and steps are being taken to improve the arrangements at present available to meet this class of case.

Colonel BURN

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that some special arrangements or regulations are necessary in order to meet these cases, which are continually happening in seaside resorts, where people go to recuperate after illness?


I am considering the way in which further regulations may be necessary. I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we are very carefully considering the question. It is a difficult question, and I shall be glad if he can contribute any suggestion towards its solution.


Have any arrangements been made, even any temporary arrangements, in view of Easter holiays?


The present arrangements are quite clear as they stand under the regulations, but I am not sure that they provide for satisfactory working as a permanent system for the doctors in those resorts, and that is what I am considering.


Could the right hon. Gentleman not arrange to allow them to change from one panel, or doctors' list, to another?


I am not sure that that would be a permanent solution of the problem. I shall be glad to receive any suggestion with regard to the matter.

54. Mr. CASSEL

asked when it is proposed to introduce the Bill for regularising the additional Grants for medical benefit under the National Insurance Act, 1911?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

A Bill is being prepared, and it is hoped to introduce it at an early date.


Will the Bill be confined to this matter, and may I express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not introduce any contentious matter likely to lead to long controversy in Ireland?


I do not say it will be confined entirely to this matter, but I hope it will not be controversial.