HC Deb 06 November 1934 vol 293 cc838-9

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the number of cases which frequently arise where pension claims are refused on the ground that the opinion of the local medical practitioner as to the attributability of a man's condition to his war service has been overruled by the medical advisers of his Department, he will consider the desirability of setting up a panel of medical referees who can provide an independent expert tribunal to settle such cases?

The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)

My responsibility to Parliament would not admit of my delegating the power of decision in the manner suggested by my hon. Friend, but I would remind him that arrangements are in force which enable me to obtain the independent advice of eminent specialists, nominated by the Presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, in cases which present serious doubt or difficulty on the evidence.


Are the people making these applications aware of the privilege?


As the system has been in force for some years, I have no doubt that it is generally known.

66. Lieut.-Colonel MOORE

asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications for pensions have been made to his Department during the last five years by ex-service men who have become blind; and how many of such applications have been entertained and how many refused?


I regret that the records of my Department do not enable me to give all the figures asked for by my hon. and gallant Friend, but I may say that during the last five years 86 cases have been admitted to pension in respect of eye disabilities resulting from war service. Of these two were cases of total blindness.

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that after the age of 40 or 45 it becomes increasingly necessary to see if there is any link between the blindness of to-day and disabilities incurred during the War through gas or wounds?


The fact that we are granting so many pensions so long after the War shows that we are keeping in close touch with this question.