§ 23. Mr. John Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will extend the provision of the constant attendance allowances so as to provide for kidney patients receiving dialysis treatment.
§ Mr. Dean
Attendance allowance is payable to all those who are so severely disabled physically or mentally, for whatever reason, that they satisfy the statutory requirements relating to attention or supervision. People receiving dialysis treatment at home qualify for attendance allowance in the same way as everyone else if they satisfy these conditions.
§ Mr. Hannam
Does my hon. Friend agree that kidney patients, because they are receiving treatment on possibly three or four days a week, find themselves ineligible for the constant attendance allowance even though they require a great deal of attention by their families and their wives—perhaps amounting to 10 hours—for the cleaning up of the machine after use, providing special diets, injections and so on? Should they not qualify as of right for the special allowance?
§ Mr. Dean
We all admire the courage of the way in which people who are having dialysis treatment continue to do valuable work within the community. However, it is for the board to interpret the statute. I assure my hon. Friend that where those who are on dialysis come within the regulations—in other words, require treatment for more than three days or nights a week—they are eligible for the allowance.
§ Mr. Grimond
Will the Minister take another look at the requirements for payment of the constant attendance allowance? I have a case of a blind diabetic suffering from heart disease who was apparently quite properly refused the allowance under the existing regulations. Does that not seem extremely hard treatment?
§ Mr. Marten
Will my hon. Friend learn from the experience of one of my constituents who is on the machine for three or four days a week and from the enormous burden which is placed upon my constituent's wife on the other days, which makes it into almost a constant attendance case? Will my hon. Friend look at this again?
§ Mr. Alfred Morris
There is justifiable and very strong feeling on this matter. 1081 Is the Minister aware that praising the courage of these patients is not enough? if the regulations are to blame, something must be done, because hon. Members on both sides of the House want to see them made more flexible to help more of these patients.