asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that Section 4 of the National Health Insurance Act, 1928, which precludes insurance committees from making grants unless the Minister is satisfied that they are of an eleemosynary character, will abolish next December the laboratory diagnostic service of the Lancashire Insurance Committee which since 1926 has provided out of local funds a free laboratory diagnostic service for 800,000 insured persons in Lancashire at a cost of less than one farthing per head; and, in view of the importance of such a service to the public health, will he take steps to delete the word "eleemosynary" from Section 4 above mentioned?
§ Mr. RAMSBOTHAM
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, under Section 4 of the National Health Insurance Act, 1928, the Lancashire Insurance Committee is now precluded from making grants necessary for the continuance of the laboratory diagnostic services in Lancashire; and whether, seeing that the entire community is in favour of such grants being made in view of the valuable work carried out by these services, he proposes to introduce legislation at an early date to alter the law so as to leave the making of grants within the unfettered judgment of the Minister of Health?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I am aware that the National Health Insurance Act passed in the late Parliament will produce the effect to which the hon. Members refer. Alternative means of securing services of this character have been suggested to representatives of the committee, but I cannot undertake to propose an amendment of the law on the point.