§ 13. Sir COOPER RAWSON
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the Report of the East Sussex Insurance Committee with regard to a case in Hove, where it is alleged that the panel doctor was visited by a regional medical officer of the Ministry, who criticised his methods of prescribing, and that subsequently the doctor was threatened with action on the part of the Ministry unless he prescribed medicines of a cheaper character; and what was the reason for such an interference with the jurisdiction and authority of the panel committee?
My attention has been called to this case and I am carefully considering the report to which my hon. Friend refers. I must point out, 342 however, that the visit of the regional officer was in fact directed to ascertaining, in accordance with the Medical Benefit Regulations, whether the case was one which should be referred to the panel committee and that the warning issued to the doctor indicated that in certain circumstances such a reference might have to be made.
§ 19. Captain FRASER
asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the value of massage and electro-therapeutic treatments in hastening the return to physical fitness of persons who suffer from accident or disease, causing loss of time or efficiency in industry, he will consider making these treatments an additional benefit in national health insurance?
Under the National Health Insurance Bill now before the House provision is made for the inclusion in the list of additional benefits of a new benefit under which approved societies will be able to make payments towards the cost of massage and electro-therapeutic treatment of their members in approved institutions.
§ Captain FRASER
May I ask whether the answer means that massage will be a direct additional benefit, or will it be given indirectly through institutions?
It takes the form of a new benefit. Power is given to make contributions towards the cost of massage.
§ 20. Captain FRASER
asked the Minister of Health what regulations or principles will be observed in deciding whether the earnings from his employment or regular occupation of a man in receipt of a full disability pension represent a substantial proportion of his weekly income, under the qualifying conditions for full sickness and disability benefits of Section 60, Sub-section (1), of the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, as amended by the National Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill, as at the Second Reading on 3rd April, 1928?
It rests with a man's approved society to determine in the first instance whether the remuneration derived from his employment or occupation in any week is such as to provide a substantial contribution towards his means of livelihood, and, if dissatis- 343 fied with the decision of his society, the man has a right of appeal in accordance with the rules of the society, and ultimately to the Minister. This is not a matter for regulations, and I have no reason to think that societies apply the provisions of the Sub-section in a harsh or unreasonable manner, but if any case of apparent hardship were brought to my notice, I should be ready to look into it.