HC Deb 23 March 1939 vol 345 cc1443-5
38. Mr. Stephen

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that approved societies under the National Health Insurance Acts have within their rules a pro- vision that members in receipt of sick benefit shall not be out of doors after a certain hour at night, and that breach of this rule entails loss of benefit; and whether he will advise such societies that attendance by a sick person upon a medical adviser at his surgery after such a permitted hour should not be interpreted as a breach of this rule?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware that the rules of approved societies require that an insured member who is in receipt of sickness benefit shall not be absent from his-home between certain specified hours; but at the same time a society has power, if it thinks fit, to exempt a member from this requirement. While a society might take the view that absence from home between the specified hours constituted a technical breach of the rule, I take it that, in considering whether a penalty should be imposed, the society would have due regard to the explanation given by the member of his failure to remain at home between the prescribed hours. If the hon. Member has any particular case to which he wishes to direct my attention I shall be happy to make inquiries.

Mr. Logan

Is it a fact that in cases such as this there is a right of appeal if any injustice is being done by the approved society?

Mr. Elliot

I think so, but in any case we believe that in the first instance the society will act reasonably.

39. Mr. Stephen

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in many public works, where employés are entitled to benefit under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the employers or their representatives insist on receiving or seeing a National Health Insurance certificate from the injured person's panel doctor before paying the compensation that is due; and, as these certificates are only issued for National Health Insurance purposes, will he take steps to end this practice?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware that health insurance medical certificates, which are the property of the insured persons to whom they are given, are in some cases shown to employers either in connection with a claim for workmen's compensation or for some other purpose. I do not think there can be any objection to an arrangement of this nature, provided that it does not interfere with the prompt despatch of the certificate to the man's approved society. In the absence of loss of benefit to the insured person I see no reason to intervene in the matter.