§ Sir HILDRED CARLILE
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether any estimate has been made, and, if so, what, of the number of beds that will be required for the institutional treatment of patients who cannot be adequately treated in their own homes under the National Insurance Act; and whether in that case he will lay the figures before the House, and, in addition, give any estimates which have been compiled showing the average cost of this branch of the work per thousand patients which may be thrown on the revenues of the local health committees; and (2) if how, under the National Insurance Act, major operations are to be provided for; whether the health committees will in all cases have power to incur whatever expense may be necessary in arranging for these; whether, in that case the patient will have any freedom of choice as to the operating surgeon; and whether the local health committees will be bound to accept the advice of the particular medical man and have recourse to the services of the operator he recommends?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
Medical benefit under the Act, as has been frequently defined, includes that service which can ordinarily be given by general practitioners who come on to the panel. I know of no reason why the present treatment of the working people in hospitals and other similar institutions should be disturbed by the National Insurance Act. If as a result of experience the voluntary hospitals find that they require State Grants for the treatment of insured persons, the whole question of State control would necessarily be raised; and at present this is not contemplated under the Act. The other parts of the two questions therefore do not arise.