HC Deb 17 July 1924 vol 176 cc554-5

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will state for what reason tuberculosis officers are prevented from expressing an opinion upon whether an ex-service man's disease is attributable to, or aggravated by, war service; when this instruction was issued by the Ministry; and whether it is intended to continue it?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Mr. F. O. Roberts)

The first part of the question does not quite correctly state the position. Tuberculosis officers of local health authorities are concerned with the treatment of tuberculosis, and they are not invited to express an opinion as to entitlement in cases which come before them solely for medical treatment. But arrangements have been made for tuberculosis officers to sit as members of medical boards which deal with cases of this disease, and as such it becomes their duty to assist in arriving at the official decision on entitlement which can only reliably be formed when the records of the man's medical history during his service and subsequently are available. The arrangements in connection with the part to be played by tuberculosis officers in cases of this type, were made some 18 months ago. They have, I am glad to say, been found to work well.

Viscountess ASTOR

Would it be possible to provide in some way that ex-service men suffering from tuberculosis who are sent to sanatoria are kept there until they get their medical discharge?


We are considering various phases of the question in connection with the men who are suffering from that disease, and I shall be glad to take that suggestion into account.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir JOSEPH NALL

Is the right hon. Gentleman taking any steps to assist colonisation?


No, I have not taken any yet.


Has not the effect of the circular been to place the medical officer in a sanatorium in a position in which he is unable to make any written statement to the effect that he is under the impression that the man's disease is attributable to or aggravated by war service?


I do not think that that impression has been formed in the minds of many people, but I will take notice of what the hon. Gentleman has said.