§ 32. Major HERBERT EVANS
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that applications for treatment by men with disabilities under 20 per cent., which have been approved by local medical officers of the Ministry, are referred to headquarters in London for sanction; what purpose is served by this procedure; how many such cases have been, considered and how many rejected; and whether he is aware that cases referred from Tyneside areas have been delayed for several weeks before applicants have been informed of the results?
§ The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Mr. F. O. Roberts)
It has for some time past been the practice for Deputy Commissioners of Medical Services, either on their own initiative or on instruction, to refer cases of this class, other than cases 1932 of gunshot wound, to Medical Services at Headquarters for advice. These cases present special difficulty owing to the fact that, being eases of only slight disability, in most of them there is no recent knowledge of the man's medical history, nor often for many years previously, and the object of the practice is to secure uniformity in the handling of these cases. About 400 of such cases have been referred to the Ministry since the beginning of the present year in some 60 of which has it been found that the man's present condition was not such as to justify treatment by the Ministry. I understand that eight cases have been referred from the Newcastle Area to the Ministry in this period. In most instances the Ministry's reply has been sent either on the day of receipt or the day following and in no case has there been the delay suggested. In any event the Medical Officer has, if the case is one of emergency, the power to deal with it on his own judgment without waiting for the reply of Headquarters.
§ Major EVANS
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what he means by "uniformity?" Does it mean an attempt to establish a standard in London to be administered by medical officers at headquarters, who will not see the men?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
No, Sir. By "uniformity" I mean the best possible service to the applicants concerned.