§ 30. Mr. G. Griffiths
asked the Home Secretary whether he has yet received the report of Judge Stewart's committee on mining diseases; and when he intends to introduce legislation on the same?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
My right hon. Friend has not yet received this report, but I understand that it will be presented before the end of the present month. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to my statement on this point in the Debate on the Motion for Second Reading of the Workmen's Compensation Bill on the 19th of last month.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Does that mean that the Minister will bring in legislation almost immediately after he has received the report?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The examinations to which the hon. Member refers are not made for the purpose of diagnosing silicosis, which is a matter for the Silicosis Medical Board, but are initial examinations of workmen entering employment in certain processes to ascertain whether the workman is suffering from certain physical defects likely to predispose him to silicosis. The board arrange for X-ray examinations in special cases, but my right hon. Friend is advised that in general the object of these initial examinations is effectively secured without an X-ray examination. In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend regrets that he does not feel justified in arranging that officers of local authorities should, except in cases where the board ask for one, carry out an X-ray examination.
§ Mr. Windsor
In view of this coming under the medical arrangement scheme, are not the Department contravening their duty in handing over the duty to a local authority and not reimbursing that authority for the extra expenditure involved?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think both hon. Members are under a certain misapprehension. This is simply a preliminary examination to eliminate certain men with physical defects, such as weak chests, from entering dangerous employments. These defects can, in the vast majority of cases, be detected by an ordinary clinical examination, although it is within the power of the board in special cases to provide also for an X-ray examination; and it is simply a matter of arrangement between the board and the local authorities whether these duties are carried out by doctor attached to the board or by the tuberculosis officers attached to local authorities.
§ Mr. Speaker
I must remind hon. Members that we have done only 35 questions out of the no upon the Order Paper.