HC Deb 15 February 1940 vol 357 cc959-60
74. Dr. Little

asked the Minister of Health whether, owing to the increased expenditure required for the necessaries of life, he will consider the urgency of an early amendment of the National Health Insurance Act with a view to the increase of sickness benefit to such a figure as to provide members of approved societies suffering from illness with sufficient means to meet their everyday needs?

Mr. Elliot

No, Sir. The benefits provided under the National Health Insurance scheme are related actuarially to the contributions payable by employers, insured persons, and the Exchequer. I am afraid that I could not, at the present time, contemplate introducing legislation for the purpose which my hon. Friend has in mind.

Dr. Little

May I ask whether something cannot be done in the near future to meet cases of chronic illness, where people who have been suffering for years have not sufficient to provide the means of livelihood to-day? I think the Government ought to take up that question.

Mr. Thorne

Is not the solution of that problem the establishment of a State medical service?