As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ payment of contributions and the stamping of cards of Scottish share-fishermen on their admission into the scheme of National Health Insurance in 1929?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
I have been asked to reply. A Special Order modifying the statutory provisions relating to the position of share-fishermen under the National Health Insurance Acts is in course of preparation and will shortly be issued.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the necessity of a speedy issue of these Regulations?
§ 29. Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Minister of Health whether the claims for sickness, disability and maternity benefits from approved societies are now decreasing or otherwise; and will he show the amounts on the basis of comparisons for previous periods?
As the answer involves a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The following statement gives an approximate comparison of the benefit expenditure of approved societies in England and Wales in 1926 and 1927, with the expenditure in 1925. Allowance has been made for variations in additional benefits, etc., in order to make the figures for the various years as far as possible comparable.
|—||Percentage ratio of expenditure in undermentioned years to expenditure in 1925.|
|Per cent.||Per cent.|
§ Complete information relating to 1928 to date is not available, and direct comparison with previous years is impracticable owing to the cessation, since January last, of the right to sickness and disablement benefit in the case of persons over age 65. An examination of the expenditure of certain large societies in the first half of 1928 indicates broadly, after allowing approximately for the above mentioned cessation, that the expenditure on sickness benefit in this period was rather less than in the corresponding period of the preceding year in the case of both men and women. In this connection it will be appreciated that a severe influenza epidemic materially affected the claims in the early months of 1927. The cost of disablement benefit was, however, somewhat heavier in 1928 in respect of each sex.
The decision of the question whether this or other preparations can be regarded as drugs or medicines within the meaning of the National Health Insurance Acts rests primarily with insurance committees. But in response to inquiries made on behalf of committees I have indicated that there is nothing before me to suggest that this preparation could properly be regarded as being excluded from the scope of medical benefit in any cases in which it is requisite for the patient's treatment.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Is the Minister of Health aware that the practice of local insurance committees differs widely on this subject, and can he see his way to issue Regulations to insure that one person is not deprived of rights which another person similarly insured gets?
I do not think that I have any power to issue a Regulation of that kind. Whenever inquiries are made I give such advice as I can.