HC Deb 16 November 1959 vol 613 cc794-5
34. Sir J. Smyth

asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the replacement of invalid tricycles by some form of motor car for the badly disabled.

39. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Health how many motor cars for the disabled have been provided; and whether he will increase the number.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Edith Pitt)

My right hon. and learned Friend is reviewing the whole matter urgently, but he is not yet ready to make a statement. The number of cars on issue is 1,792.

Sir J. Smyth

Does not my hon. Friend realise that the two Questions are dissimilar? My Question was on the replacement of out-of-date invalid tricycles by some form of two-seater car. The hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) was asking about quite a different matter, namely, increasing the number of cars for the badly disabled ex-Service war pensioners. May I ask my hon. Friend to press on with this matter, since it affects a number of people who are getting on in years and their disabilities do not improve with age?

Miss Pitt

I take it that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to National Health Service patients in his Question, in which case he will be aware that there is no power to provide cars for them. The question of tricycles has been under review. We are awaiting recommendations from some of the ex-Servicemen's organisations who have had them on trial.

Mr. Chetwynd

In view of the fact that there are strong reasons why the tricycles should be replaced by a more convenient kind of vehicle, so that a pensioner can have someone with him, will the hon. Lady consider that point, and will she also state whether she is considering extending the categories of people who are now entitled to a car?

Miss Pitt

Yes, Sir. I hope I am clear that the hon. Gentleman is now referring to ex-Servicemen, who have entitlement to cars. In that case, I would remind him that at no time has the number allocated reached the number authorised. One of the things my right hon. and learned Friend will take into account in his review is whether the criteria for allocating cars should be altered.

Sir J. Smyth

May I make it clear that I am referring not only to National Insurance cases but also to all those, both military and civil, who are at present in receipt of the very antiquated invalid tricycle, and that I am pressing a claim which I have pressed many times before in the House, that something should be done about replacing them with some sensible two-seater car?

Dr. Summerskill

Could the hon. Lady say why the man who is disabled in a pit and is paraplegic should not also be entitled to a car?

Miss Pitt

Because, as the right hon. Lady should know, there is no power in the National Health Service Act.

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