HC Deb 10 April 1930 vol 237 cc2353-5
57. Sir G. PENNY

asked the Minister of Health whether, in issuing fresh regulations regarding the administration of national health insurance through the approved societies, he will stipulate that spectacle frames dispensed under the scheme should be of British origin?


I will consider what steps I can take to encourage the use of spectacle frames of British origin in connection with ophthalmic benefit under the National Health Insurance Scheme.


How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that statement with the Free Trade principles of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

68. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Minister of Health whether he can make a statement as to the results of the recent investigation by the Government actuary into the claims experience of a representative group of insured persons; and what action he is taking as a result of such report?

70 and 71. Mr. D. G. SOMERVILLE

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether his attention has been called to the statement by the controller of the Insurance Department of the Ministry of Health to the effect that the growth of sickness claims is out of all proportion to the increase in the burden of unemployment, and that a complete explanation will have to be sought elsewhere; whether such explanation is being sought; and on what lines;

(2) if his attention has been called to the warning of his Controller against malingering on the part of persons drawing benefits under the National Health Insurance scheme; and whether he is satisfied that the standard of administration by every society concerned is sufficiently high to ensure that additional benefits are not sacrificed by laxity?


I am aware of the position with regard to the increase in expenditure on sickness and disablement benefits, which has been a matter of concern to me for some time past. The Report of the Government Actuary on the subject will be laid on the Table of the House within the next few days. The causes of the increase are under investigation by the Departments concerned, and steps are being taken to deal with any laxity which is brought to light.


Having regard to the grave anxiety among the approved societies of this country, can the right hon. Gentleman take any steps, for instance, in connection with medical certification under the Act? Is there any possibility of improving that? Can he do anything in that direction?


Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to ask his staff, when they are inquiring further into this problem, to find out whether there is not a definite decline in the claims for the first quarter of this year, compared with any previous period?


I cannot carry the figures in my head. I have only seen the results of the actuarial investigation in the last six days, and I have not had time to examine them.


Before the right hon. Gentleman takes any action in this matter, will he consult the House, because the insured persons have rights equally with the approved societies?


The approved societies represent the members.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in this case the approved societies intend, or some of them intend, to deprive the insured persons of certain of their rights?


Will the right hon. Gentleman have the figures examined to see how far this benefit is paid to disabled men who ought to come under the Ministry of Pensions?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is here a definite charge of malingering and—


This question, with its supplementaries, is getting like the house that Jack built.