HC Deb 25 March 1926 vol 193 cc1368-9

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that during each year a number of officers and, men are invalided cut of the Army, Navy, and Air Force suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis; that, as a rule, it is impossible to accurately determine whether the disease is attributable to the conditions of service or not; that the large majority of cases are decided as not being so attributable and, consequently, receive no pension on account of their disability; and that the only money the men receive during their pro longed and debilitating illness is from the National Health Insurance, which is inadequate for the purpose; and whether he will consider the possibility of instituting a form of insurance (compulsory or otherwise) for officers and men in these Services against this disease, so that, on being invalided out of the Services for this disease, they may receive a pension which will be adequate for their needs until recovery or death?


As the answer is a long one, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL ROPORT.

Following is the answer:

I am advised that the answer to the first and third parts of the question is in the affirmative.

As regards the second part of the question, the disease is prevalent throughout all classes and all occupations, and unless there is evidence that the patient has beer exposed to abnormal conditions of service to which he would not have been subjected in ordinary life, the disease cannot be held attributable to the Service. Every case has therefore to be considered on its merits.

As regards the fourth part of the question, the non effective benefits granted to officers in non-attributable cases are considered sufficient, having regard to their ages and length of service. In attributable cases these grants are inc. eased by supplementary allowances which in cases of total disablement amount to £100 a year. In addition, grants in aid of sanatorium expenses are made so long as the officers remain on the active list. Men invalided for tuberculosis are entitled to the benefits of the Na -ional Health Insurance Acts and, in addition, to a pension for life if they have 14 years' service (or 10 in certain cases). In attributable cases the pension base on service is supplemented by a further allowance in respect of the disablement. When the service amounts to less than the above periods a gratuity is payable.

As regards the last part of the question, I do not think it would be practicable le differentiate between tuberculosis and other non-attributable diseases, so far as insurance is, concerned.