HC Deb 26 April 1923 vol 163 cc636-7

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that J. Carter, of 13, Apley Road, Doncaster, and late of the Royal Air Force, was constantly undergoing treatment from July, 1917, to September, 1918, for rheumatism brought on by exposure while night flying, and was then in hospital as the result of an accident until he was demobilised in February, 1919: that since his demobilisation Carter has constantly had to cease work owing to recurring illness; that he has been totally incapacitated since May, 1922, through rheumatism and pulmonary tuberculosis; that Carter's health record previous to joining the Army was good; that his local doctor is strongly of opinion that his disease was contracted during his period of military service; and that this man will probably never be able to work again; and, in view of these circumstances, will he take steps to have this case re-opened so that the evidence which has accumulated since his claim was rejected in November, 1920, may be taken into consideration?


There is no available evidence that this man suffered during service from the disabilities claimed, nor did he make any claim in respect of them until a year after he was demobilised. Moreover, a medical board, by which he was examined at the time of his demobilisation, found no disability. The rejection of the claim to pension has been confirmed on appeal by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, and is now, therefore, final.


In these numerous cases that are arising, where the local doctors entirely disagree with the medical board, is there any possibility of getting a conference of some description, where the opinions of these local doctors can be taken into consideration, so that these people may be given a chance?


The suggestion that these people do not get a chance is, of course, inaccurate. The views of the private doctors are put before the Tribunal, and it is our wish that they should receive consideration before that body.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that cases are on record where, after a month's diagnosis in a tuberculosis sanatorium, the doctors have certified that the man was suffering from tuberculosis contracted while on service, and yet the decision has been given against that diagnosis of the superintendent of the sanatorium?


Perhaps the hon. Member will put down a question.