§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
asked the Minister of Pensions what is the cause of the delay in dealing with the urgent case of Lieut.-Colonel Cuthbert M. Murphy, of 14, Sun Street, Finsbury Square, London, whose case was alleged to be under consideration on 21st October last that meantime his health and finances have worsened and his whole means being expended in medical treatment due to the War which the Government is liable to pay; and will he cause immediate steps to be taken to remedy this state of affairs?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
As I informed my hon. and learned Friend on a previous occasion, this officer was placed on the retired list, not on account of ill-health, but at his own request, and he received from the Admiralty a retiring gratuity of £1,600. He had at that time a very slight disability assessed at only five per cent., and not necessitating his retirement; but shortly after his retirement he became seriously ill with a different disability, which is certified by my medical advisers as attributable to his War service. Until recently there was no regulation under which any addition in respect of disability could be made to a gratuity such as this naval officer received. The necessary authority has now been obtained, but it is a condition, in a case of voluntary retirement such as this, that the officer shall be certified to have been permanently unfit for general service at the time of his retirement. This condition was not fulfilled in the case of this officer. I am seeking authority, however, whereby some additional award for disablement will be possible in this and similar cases. With regard to his medical treatment, the Government have certainly not refused to pay. Considerable payments have, on the contrary, been already made, and the question whether any further payments can be made is being considered.2444W
§ Captain BOWYER
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will inquire into the case of Mr. F. Austin, late private, No. G/256,897, Royal Army Service Corps; whether he is aware that this man, in May, 1920, went before a board where he was told that he would be granted a 30 per cent, pension for six months and 20 per cent, for six months after that; that, in spite of this, Mr. Austin received a buff form, dated 1st June, 1920 (Reference No. 11/M/68,823), informing him that he was not eligible for any pension or allowance; that Mr. Austin has since appealed for a further examination and board, but can get no reply; and why it is that grounds for these incessant complaints, as regards letters not being answered, are not removed?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
This man did not claim to be impaired on demobilisation, but he subsequently made a claim to pension in respect of deafness. He was examined by a medical board in May, 1920, who found no disablement in respect of ear trouble, but assessed incapacity in respect of disordered action of the heart as is stated in the question. My medical advisers, however, decided that the heart complaint was neither due to nor aggravated by service, and no award of pension could therefore be made. Both the man and his local committee have been informed of the right of appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal against this decision, but no appeal has so far been received. There is no trace of the correspondence referred to in the last part of the question.