HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 cc320-1
13. Mr. Tom Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the number of applications made for certification under the Pneumo-koniosis and Silicosis Orders for the year ended 31st December, 1943; the number certified as partially disabled and totally disabled; and give the number for Lancashire and Cheshire separately in each class.

Mr. H. Morrison

The number of applications from coal miners dealt with by the Medical Board under the schemes of compensation and benefit for these diseases was 2,645, of which 31 were from Lancashire and Cheshire. The number certified to be totally disabled or suspended on account of the disease was 1,281 including 9 in Lancashire and Cheshire.

Mr. Brown

While thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask if he will not collaborate with the Ministry of Fuel and Power with the object in view of preventing the ravages of these diseases making great inroads into the man-power in the mines?

Mr. Morrison

I can assure the hon. Member that we will do all we can in that direction.

16. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that a number of coalminers have been waiting for some time for examination by the medical board under the Pneumo-koniosis Order; and if he will take steps to expedite the examination of these men by the board.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am aware that, owing to the large increase in the number of applications to the medical board from South Wales miners, examinations have been delayed. As I explained in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) on the 17th December last, the strength of the medical board in South Wales has been doubled, and further assistance is being given so far as is practicable. I fully recognise the desirability of doing everything possible to cope with the increased work, but my hon. Friend will also recognise that the claims on the medical profession at the present time make it very difficult to secure the services of qualified men who can devote time to this kind of work, and some delay is unavoidable. As the result of discussions with representatives of the South Wales Miners' Federation last week, I hope that, in future, priority of application will be given to cases where the disease is advanced and the workman is incapacitated for work.