Mr. T. MORRIS
asked the Minister of Pensions whether any cases have been brought to his notice in which commutation of pension has been followed after a lapse of time by enforced recourse to the Poor Law on the part of the commuter; and, if so, how many of such cases have there been?
§ Major TRYON
No such cases have been brought to my notice. The statutory regulations with regard to the matter are directly aimed at restricting commutation in order to prevent the2316W occurrence of such cases, inasmuch as commutation is not granted unless it can be shown that the pensioner would suffer grave hardship if it were refused, and that a substantial proportion, which is never less than 16s. a week, of the pension remains uncommuted. Every effort is made by the Ministry to safeguard the future interests of applicants by careful examination of the prospects in each case.
§ Sir W. SUGDEN
asked the Minister of Pensions the future policy of his Department in regard to hospital treatment of pensioners; whether it is proposed to continue the existence of Ministry of Pensions institutions or whether pensioners will receive in-patient treatment in voluntary and/or rate-aided hospitals at the Ministry's expense; when such change, if any, will be effected; the number of pensioners admitted to Ministry institutions for treatment for the years 1931, 1932, and 1933, and the number admitted to other institutions for treatment, approved by the Ministry, for the same years?
§ Major TRYON
The policy of the Ministry is to make use of civil hospitals as far as possible consistently with the interests of the Ministry's patients, but there are certain types of war disability as, for example, nervous and mental disorder, epilepsy, paraplegia and certain types of surgical case, for which either ordinary civil institutions do not provide or which can be more suitably dealt with in specialised Ministry institutions. No change is contemplated, in this policy, which will continue to be pursued so long as the interests of the patients demand. The particulars asked for in the remainder of the question are as follow:
Number of cases* admitted to hospital as in-patients. — 1931. 1932. 1933. In Ministry Hospital† 7,501 6,264 5,790 In Voluntary Hospitals and General Civil Hospital. 3,478 2,541 1,966 Totals 10,979 8,805 7,756 * Not including pensioners certified as of unsound mind in Public Mental Hospitals. †Including Queen Mary's Hospital, Roebampton.