§ 72. Mr. ALFRED SHORT
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it is proposed to appoint the Royal Commission charged with investigation and report into the working and results of the National Health Insurance scheme, which has now been seven years in operation; whether he is aware that considerable dissatisfaction exists among nearly every section of persons connected with the working of the scheme, as well as among the insured persons, with regard to its 1960 financial implications; and whether he will institute, without further delay, the complete and exhaustive investigation promised?
§ Major ASTOR
I have been asked to reply to this question. No information is reaching the Government of dissatisfaction as to the financial implications (as the hon. Member states) of the present working of National Health Insurance; its finance was, in fact, the subject of prolonged and minute investigation by a very strong Departmental Committee quite recently under the chairmanship of Sir Gerald Ryan; their recommendations were adopted with some small modifications by the Government, after consultation with the Advisory Committee, including representatives of approved societies, whose full concurrence was obtained; the proposals were subsequently passed by Parliament, in the Act of 1918, accompanied by an annual Exchequer Grant of £400,000. This Act only came into force in July last, and its full effect requires not only the test of time but the completion of the actuarial valuation of approved societies which is just about to commence. In these circumstances there seems to be no present ground for the appointment of the Royal Commission for which the hon. Member asks.