HC Deb 14 March 1960 vol 619 cc923-4
36. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will arrange for a doctor to sit on all local war pensions committees to guide the laymen on medical questions which arise, particularly with regard to the condition of 1914–18 ex-Service men.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir.

Mrs. Castle

Does the Minister realise that this suggestion was brought to my attention by a member of a local war pensions committee who informed me that it was very difficult for these committees to assess the claims of 1914–18 ex-Service men without having medical advice, particularly in cases of worsening condition? Is the Minister aware that these men are having a raw deal all round? Will he therefore reconsider this matter and also reconsider his refusal to extend to them the right to go to the Appeal Tribunal which is already enjoyed by the ex-Service men of the last war?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The last part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question plainly does not arise on the Question. As to the earlier part, there are, as she knows, a number of doctors who in their own right serve as very valuable members of these committees, but it would be a hopeless proposition to put a doctor as such on a committee and expect him to be able to weigh and judge between competing experts over the whole field of medicine.