HC Deb 03 December 1962 vol 668 cc905-6
4. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will consider including Dupuytren's contracture in the Schedule of Prescribed Industrial Diseases.

Mr. N. Macpherson

No, Sir. On present evidence this condition in no way meets the requirements for prescription as set out in Section 55 (2) of the Industrial Injuries Act, 1946.

Mr. Dugdale

Is the Minister aware that the T.U.C. thinks quite otherwise? It says that this disease, which arises from the tight holding of instruments such as hammers, is directly due to the employment of persons who hold such instruments in their work and it should be placed on the Schedule. Will the Minister look at this matter again and consult further with the T.U.C.?

Mr. Macpherson

I am told that this is a condition which occurs in 1 per cent. to 2 per cent. of adults from 40 to 50. Non-manual more than manual workers are affected.

Dr. Stross

Will the Minister consider the matter again? Is he aware that even when his medical officers are satisfied that it is due to injury by process, there is no possibility of benefit being made obtainable for the injured workman, and it is very difficult, even though it is suspected that an actual accident has occurred, ever to prove it because accidents are repeated at such frequent intervals in the industry concerned?

Mr. Macpherson

I cannot deal with the second part of the supplementary question because that would concern evidence in a particular case, but the hon. Member will be aware of the provisions of Section 55 (2), which lay down the circumstances in which a condition of this kind can be prescribed—which, broadly speaking, are that it must be the risk of a particular occupation. Even if we accepted that in some cases the damage had an occupational origin, those cases would have to be differentiated from cases arising from other causes. Given that condition, I am afraid I have no evidence at present which would warrant me referring this matter to the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council, but, if the hon. Member has further evidence, I shall gladly consider it.