HC Deb 01 December 1927 vol 211 cc669-71

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that it is the practice in calculating the amount deducted from pensions in respect of hospital treatment, for the period during which the recipient is undergoing such treatment, to count broken periods of less than a week as a full week; whether he has received complaints in respect of such deductions; and whether he will take steps to see that in future such deductions are only made for the appropriate number of days of the broken period?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)

Payments under Article 6 of the Royal Warrant and any necessary adjustments in connection with them are made on a weekly basis. I am satisfied that this practice which has always obtained under the Warrant is on the whole of advantage to pensioners and makes for convenience of administration. I am looking into the working of the rule in exceptional cases of the type which my hon. Friend has brought to my notice.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in some cases when a man is in hospital for nine days a fortnight's allowance is deducted for those nine day? Is that not rather unfair?


It is not, as a rule, a case of deduction. In the great majority of cases the men in hospital are better off financially than those not in hospital.


In the case referred to they are not better off. In the case of a man receiving £1 per week, if his employer pays his wages during illness the Minister of Pensions deducts the cost of treatment in the hospital.


That is not the point of the question on the Paper; it arises on the next question. But I am going to look into the exceptional case mentioned by my hon. Friend.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that deductions for hospital treatment are only made in cases where the recipient of the pension also receives a salary in addition to the pension; and, if so, why any distinction is made between persons who are earning a salary and persons who have no other source of income beyond their pensions?


My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension in thinking that a distinction is made as between the man whose salary or wage is continued during a period of in-patient treatment and the man whose salary or wage ceases on his commencing treatment. In both cases the payments to the man are adjusted in respect of the cost of his maintenance in hospital at public cost.


Is it not a fact that where you have cases of treatment in hospital the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman presides informs the local authority that if they care not to make a charge his Department will continue the full payment to the ex-service man and his wife? If that be so, how does the right hon. Gentleman square that with the answer already given


I do not see any relation between the supplementary question and the original question. It is a mistake to think that any distinction is made as between men whose salary or wage is continued during the period, and those whose salary or wage ceases.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that ex-service men entering Queen Mary's Hospital at Roe-hampton are asked, on entry, whether their employers are paying their wages, and if they reply in the affirmative, the sum of about 19s. per week is deducted for the cost of their maintenance? If they say they are not receiving wages, the full pension is paid.


In every case the same deduction is made. The hon. Member is under a misapprehension.


Do I understand that my right hon. Friend will look into the particular case I have mentioned and see whether I have been misinformed?


Yes, I will gladly look into any particular case.