HC Deb 03 June 1980 vol 985 cc1239-40
13. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received the details about Paul Hardman, who has suffered as a result of vaccine damage for a number of years; and what steps has he taken to advise the hon. Member for St. Helens about the parents' right to claim payment under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 on behalf of their son, Paul.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I have received those details. I share the hon. Gentleman's distress that Paul should be so severly disabled. I have replied to the hon. Gentleman's letter. A particular difficulty affecting the case is that many of the medical records are difficult to decipher.

Mr. Spriggs

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his letter, which I received at 2 o'clock this afternoon. Is he aware that the information contained in the letter is not very helpful in a case in which a child has been severely damaged for the rest of his life, and in which there is no hope of his regaining normal health? A claim is being made under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979, but it is said that the claim will hang on the question of probability. In a case such as this, where there is some doubt, should not the child be given the benefit of any doubt, and receive damages?

Mr. Jenkin

I assure the hon. Gentleman that this case has been dealt with precisely in accordance with the Act passed by the last Parliament. The Bill was introduced by the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals). First time round, on the balance of probability, the authorities were unable to conclude that Paul's disabilities were due to vaccination. His parents have a right of appeal and they are pursuing that. I hope that it will be heard as soon as possible.