HC Deb 16 July 1962 vol 663 cc7-8
10. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what provision is made under his regulations for those suffering from complicated diseases of the chest as a result of work in coalmines but who are not registered as pneumoconiotics.

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

In the case of people suffering from a disease not scheduled under the Industrial Injuries Act and which has the effect of making them unfit for work, the provision is by way of sickness benefit.

Mr. Dalyell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many miners are extremely unhappy about the partiality of the boards and would prefer the X-ray plates to be sent to some impartial body such as the South-Wales Pneumoconiotic Unit?

Mr. Sharples

I think that raises a somewhat wider question than that on the Order Paper.

Miss Herbison

Surely the Parliamentary Secretary must be aware of the great dissatisfaction amongst miners, steel workers and others who suffer from pneumoconiosis at the decisions of these boards compared with the decisions of specialists in hospitals and infirmaries throughout the country? Surely the Minister must be ready to try to do something to alleviate the misery of those who are told that they are not suffering from pneumoconiosis?

Mr. Sharples

The determination of entitlement is made under the Industrial Injuries Act and the Minister has no influence over the decisions of the boards.

Mr. Wainwright

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that many on this side of the House who have been interested in these cases because of our experience as branch secretaries fully realise that many men suffering from emphysema, bronchitis and other chest diseases ought to have better medical examinations than they have at present? Could he look into this question, or ask his future chief to look into it, and make certain that these unfortunate miners receive fair judgment and fair play?

Mr. Sharples

This matter was considered in great detail by the Beney Committee, and also by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.

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