§ 38. Mr. NIELD
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the Insurance Commissioners, whether the application of G. W. Allen, of Station House, West Ealing, for leave to make his own arrangements was refused by the Middlesex Insurance Committee, subsequently granted within a fortnight, and again refused the day following such consent; whether the applicant was a patient of Dr. Chambré, in connection with the District Railway Provident Society, before the Act came into force and is still a member of both sections, all the members of his family being patients of the same doctor; what is the reason for this action on the part of the committee; and whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists throughout the county with regard to the manner in which the Act is being administered?
My right hon. Friend understands that the insurance committee referred to has received and dealt with applications from three different persons resident at the address given in the question. No such action as that suggested in the question was, however, taken in any of these cases.
§ 39. Mr. NIELD
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East whether he is aware that the Middlesex Insurance Committee have persistently refused applications of injured persons to make their own medical arrangements; will he say whether this is in pursuance of any resolution or as part of any definite policy, and without regard to the merits of the particular applications; if this is not so, will the Commissioners give such instructions to the committee as will ensure each application being decided by reference to its own special circumstances; what is the reason for the committee refusing to forward to applicants the necessary forms to enable them to make their applications, unless such form is specifically asked for by its technical reference; and how many letters of application were received by the insurance committee from Miss Marsh and Mr. Constable, of Ealing, before such forms were sent?
As I have previously informed the hon. Member, a discretion is vested in the insurance committee in dealing with any such application. There is no foundation for the statement contained in the last part but one of the question. As regards the last part of the question, the forms of application were sent at the request of a doctor, no application having been received from the insured persons themselves.
Yes, Sir, the Middlesex Insurance Committee is a very capable committee, and the Commissioners have no intention whatever of interfering with its autonomy.
§ 40. Mr. NIELD
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East why, in the event of a pool proving insufficient to pay the claims upon it, the drug bill is paid in full and only a dividend is paid on medical charges; and what is the reason for favouring the chemists at the expense of and penalising the medical men who are in attendance on insured persons entitled to make their own medical arrangements?
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The arrangement to which he refers is the prescribed method of calculating the insurance committee's contribution to the insured person, who is himself responsible for the bills he has incurred.
§ Mr. GLYN-JONES
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that insured persons who asked to be allowed to make their own arrangements were informed that one of the conditions would be that probably there would not be enough money in the pool to pay their doctors?
Yes, I believe insured persons who did not want to take advantage of the panel doctors provided by the Act are warned that it may result in their having to pay the balance necessary to pay their own doctors.
§ 41. Mr. NIELD
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East whether, in view of the insolvency of so many pools of insured persons making their own medical 438 arrangements, the Commissioners, out of the large surplus in their hands or under their control created by persons from whom and from whose employers compulsory levies are made under the National Insurance Act, but who have continued to provide and pay for the medical services rendered to them independently of the Act, will appropriate some portion of that fund in aid of those persons who, having paid their contributions, are unable to obtain the promised benefits?
I would refer the hon. Member to the provisions of Section 15 (3) of the National Insurance Act, 1911, which preclude the adoption of the course suggested.