§ 91. Lieut.-Colonel Sir MERVYN MANNINGHAM-BULLER
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that pensioners, in some instances, through ignorance or neglect, fail to maintain or make certain of their position in health insurance and so lose or endanger their title to benefit and contributory pension; and whether he will take steps to enable them to ascertain or establish their rights?
§ The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Mr. R. S. Hudson)
Yes, Sir. Cases of the kind referred to have come to my notice. I am glad to say that, with the co-operation of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, special arrangements have now been made to meet them as far as possible. For this purpose, pensioners who are in any doubt as to their position in health insurance will be invited to communicate full particulars of their cases to the chief area officers of my Department by whom they will be placed before the Ministry of Health. Special notices are being sent out, and, in addition, instructions will be given to each pensioner in his pension book.
§ 92. Sir M. MANNINGHAM-BULLER
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that many pensioners who have lost regular work through having to undergo treatment for their war disabilities in hospital are anxious to know, after a long stay in hospital, if they will be able on discharge to regain employment; and whether he can arrange with 324 the Ministry of Labour to assist them to regain employment?
§ Mr. HUDSON
Yes, Sir; and I am glad to say that, with the help of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, arrangements have been made whereby, on receipt of a form of registration from a patient who is about to be discharged from hospital, the Employment Exchange nearest to his home will take all possible steps to secure his prompt return to employment either with his former employer or otherwise. I may add that I have issued a circular—copies of which have been placed in the Library—to all war pensions committees throughout the country, calling their special attention to the points raised in this and the last question, and inviting their active co-operation.
§ 93. Mr. BUCHANAN
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will inquire into the case of Robert Parker, residing at Taylor Street, Glasgow, who has been refused a pension for a disability; whether he is aware that when this man joined the Army he was certified A 1, and had always been in perfect health; that he is now unable to walk; and that two private doctors in Glasgow state that the likelihood is that this state of health arises from war service?
§ Mr. HUDSON
I have looked into this case with great care, and I much regret that I am unable to find any grounds for varying the decision taken. I am advised that, on the evidence presented, it cannot be certified that Mr. Parker's unfortunate condition, which first manifested itself in 1932, is the result of his war service.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is the Minister aware that the man was of first-class physique and was a footballer of some renown before the war, and that two 325 doctors of fair repute in the city have certified upon their conscience that the injury to him is likely to have been caused during the war; and cannot an independent tribunal rehear the case in order to see what can be done for the man?
§ Mr. HUDSON
I have examined the case very carefully. The man was suffering from a trouble fairly common in a civilian population. The delay in its manifestation clearly shows that it could not have been due to war service.
§ Mr. MABANE
Would my hon. Friend revise his decision that Members may not look at the papers themselves, and allow Members in cases like this to inspect the papers?