HC Deb 13 May 1918 vol 106 c40
64. Mr. WING

asked the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the National Health Insurance Commissioners, if he is aware that, owing to a dispute in Houghton-le-Spring and district between certain insured persons and the local medical men as to terms between the two parties for medical attendance on wives and families, complications have arisen resulting in non-attendance of medical men or midwives at the accouchement of wives of insured men, resulting in some cases of suspension of payment of maternity benefit to the wives of such members; if notice will be sent to all whom it concerns that, the dispute being entirely apart from the obligations of the National Insurance Act, prompt payments of maternity benefit will be paid to all entitled to receive it where the absence of medical aid is not deliberate as in this dispute; and if the instructions to officers are in accord with such action?

Sir EDWIN CORNWALL (Comptroller of the Household)

I have received a complaint that maternity benefit was not paid in a particular case, in the area in question, in which the wife of an insured person was not attended in her confinement by a doctor or midwife. Inquiries have been made into the case, and it appears that the delay in the payment f benefit was due to a misapprehension on the part of the member, and that benefit has now been paid. I do not think any such special notice need be circulated, as the hon. Member suggests, seeing that, in the "Handbook of Instructions" issued by the Insurance Commissioners to all approved societies it is clearly laid down that maternity benefit cannot be withheld where it has been impossible to obtain the attendance of a qualified doctor or midwife, provided that other satisfactory evidence of the confinement is produced to the society.