HC Deb 14 March 1955 vol 538 c929
18. Mr. Warbey

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will institute an inquiry into the causes of the wide variation in the proportion of pneumoconiosis claims diagnosed as such by the pneumoconiosis medical panels in the different areas.

Mr. Peake

No, Sir. I do not think the inquiry suggested by the hon. Member would serve any useful purpose.

Mr. Warbey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the wide variation in diagnosis, from as high as 78 per cent. in Scotland and 70 per cent. in the West Midlands to as low as 47 per cent. in the East Midlands, is causing a good deal of uneasiness in the coal-mining industry, and does not he think that now that the scheme has been working for some years it would be a good thing to have an inquiry both into the diagnostic criteria and into the question whether it is really a good thing to have a panel of medical experts functioning as a final appeal tribunal for claims for benefit?

Mr. Peake

I cannot accept that the proportion of successful claims in different districts shows that there is any wide variation in diagnosis in those districts. The fact is that the conditions giving rise to the disease, the form of the disease itself and the awareness of the risk of disease, vary greatly from district to district.