§ Mr. FORREST
asked the Minister of Health what are the types of benefits which are now being given by the approved societies, and especially how many of them provide dental benefit; and whether he is in a position to make specific recommendations to the societies as to the directions in which benefits should be given?
The additional benefits which are now being provided by approved societies out of surpluses disclosed on a valuation include, in addition to increases of the standard rates of sickness, disablement and maternity benefits, dental benefit, ophthalmic benefit, treatment in convalescent homes, the provision of medical and surgical appliances, and payments to hospitals and for nursing. Dental benefit has already been adopted in England by 794 societies and 2,662 branches, and these numbers will no doubt be increased when the whole of the schemes following the second valua-402W tion have been formulated. As regards the last part of the question, it rests with each society to consider which of the additional benefits are best suited to the needs of its members, but any scheme adopted requires the sanction of the Department before it can be brought into operation, and where a society's proposals are thought for any reason to be inappropriate recommendations for amendment are made to the society.