HC Deb 05 February 1962 vol 653 cc23-4
31. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why a pension is not given to the Caithness ex-soldier, details of whom he is aware, who served overseas from 1939 to 1945, contracted a disease diagnosed in 1941 as rheumatoid arthritis, in 1945 as fibrositis of the legs, and in 1954 at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, as multiple sclerosis from which he had suffered since 1940.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. Richard Sharples)

As my hon. Friend is aware, it is because the Pension Appeals Tribunal decided in November, 1959, that service factors played no part in the onset or progress of the serious disease from which this unfortunate man is suffering. This decision is binding on my right hon. Friend, subject only to the man's right of appeal on a point of law to the Court of Session. A separate condition from which the appellant is suffering, rheumatoid arthritis and fibrositis of the legs, has been accepted as due to service, and an appeal is pending on the question of the assessment of the disablement resulting from it.

Sir D. Robertson

Could there be a more extraordinary case than the one to which my hon. Friend has just referred, of a soldier, a volunteer, who went abroad at the beginning of World War II, who took ill in 1940 and was wrongly diagnosed as suffering from rheumatoid arthritis? The next time that he went into hospital in 1945, prior to returning to Britain, he was diagnosed as having fibrositis. The correct diagnosis was made later when he returned to Scotland. The pains have always been the same and the symptoms have been the same. Because a tribunal appointed and paid by the Government decided against him on medical evidence which was entirely wrong, I ask my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, who is sitting on the Front Bench, to take action in this case and to do justice to a man who is incapable of working much longer.

Mr. Sharples

The tribunal which adjudicated on this case was entirely independent, and it came to the conclusion that the appellant's disability was neither caused nor aggravated by his period of service between September, 1939, and February, 1946. This is entirely a medical question, and the tribunal's decision is binding on my right lion. Friend.

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