HC Deb 10 May 1951 vol 487 cc2128-9
8. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Labour what remedy is available to a Class Z Reservist who is dissatisfied with the result of his medical examination prior to call-up.

Mr. Robens

My Department is always prepared to consider a request for reconsideration provided it is supported by additional medical evidence.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

In those circumstances, will my right hon. Friend take immediate action in the case of which he was given details a few days ago, the case of a disabled ex-prisoner of war pensioner living in Brixton who has to wear a surgical belt for a displaced spinal disc and is now under canvas in a heavy antiaircraft unit in Cornwall? Will the Minister arrange for this man to be sent back at once and find out what kind of medical board passed him as fit for training?

Mr. Robens

I will certainly look into an individual case of that kind, but the fact is that medical boards are set up to examine these men and they come to a certain decision. If the man's own medical practitioner thinks it is not a right one on medical grounds, and will give the man a certificate to say so and that certificate is handed to the office which calls up the man, we will deal with the case immediately it arises. No hon. Member need fear that we shall not deal with cases expeditiously to prevent men who are physically unfit and who for one reason or another have got through a medical board, from having to serve.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is not an isolated case, and that a constituent of mine in receipt of a disability pension for disability aggravated by war service has been certified as fit for training? Would it not be better if the medical board were given authority to accept the advice of the man's own medical practitioner at the time of call-up? In this case, when the offer of medical evidence was made, it was refused.

Mr. Robens

I do not see how we can do that if we have a medical board. Surely they are competent to examine the case of an individual and to make a decision? It may well be that from time to time, when very large numbers are beginning to flow through in a very short period, some errors will arise, but if hon. Members will either bring them to my attention or use the method I have described, we will deal with them. I do not think anyone need worry that undue anxiety will be occasioned by the decisions finally reached.

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