HC Deb 01 February 1960 vol 616 cc609-10
13. Mr. Prentice

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what proposals he has for the prescription of bronchitis or emphysema under the Industrial Injuries Act; and to what extent this question has been considered recently by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.

The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

None, Sir. The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council gives a considerable amount of attention specifically to these respiratory diseases and I am keeping it informed of the results of the extensive research which is currently in hand.

Mr. Prentice

Would the Minister agree that research is pointing more and more clearly to a causal connection between working in a dusty atmosphere and suffering from these chest complaints? In particular, are there not a great number of cases in which it is evident that people with pneumoconiosis have bronchitis or emphysema associated with it? Does that not mean that the case has become stronger for prescribing these diseases in relation to persons who work in dusty conditions?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

With regard to the first point, I am bound to say that I should not like to take up any position on this until I have considered much more evidence. However, I do not share the hon. Member's impression of the general way in which the evidence now stands as far as the association with pneumoconiosis is concerned. The hon. Gentleman will, of course, be aware that the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit of the Medical Research Council is working on the specific problem of the possible relationship of the diseases.