HC Deb 12 February 1942 vol 377 cc1598-9W
Mr. Simmonds

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware of the hard ship which service men's families often suffer while awaiting the issue of a war service grants special allowance; and whether he will arrange with the Assistance Board for their area officers to make suitable advances to applicants, pending the decision of the advisory committee, with subsequent recovery of the cost of the advance from his Department?

Mr. Paling

All the Departments concerned have been and are making special efforts to deal with applications as speedily as possible. As a result of steps recently taken there will, I hope, be further progress in this direction, but if the hon. Member has in mind any particular case where delay is causing hardship, I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will make available to Members the report of the committee presided over by Lord Horder upon which the policy relating to the granting of pensions in cases of neurosis is based.

Sir W. Womersley

I am arranging for copies of the report in question to be placed in the Library of the House.

Sir J. Nall

asked the Minister of Pensions the present procedure for dealing with men who suffer amputations whilst serving in the Armed Forces: at what stage are the men discharged from hospital and from the service; and whether it is intended to restore the procedure adopted during the last war and retain such men in the service, with service pay and family allowances, until they are satisfactorily fitted with, and have become accustomed to, their artificial limbs and ready to resume, as far as possible, normal civil life?

Sir W. Womersley

The normal procedure when a man has suffered amputation during service in the Armed Forces is to discharge him from hospital when his stump is soundly healed unless the special surgical needs of the case make this course undesirable. A short interval must elapse between the healing of the stump and the fitting of an artificial limb to enable the stump to settle down, and medical opinion is that generally it is better that during this period the man should not be in hospital. The man who has left hospital is kept under observation at a limb-fitting centre of my Ministry, and, in due course, is fitted with an artificial limb.

With regard to the second part of the Question, I am glad to be able to inform my hon. Friend that, as a result of discussions between officers of my Department and the Service Departments, I hope that instructions will very shortly be issued by the latter which will ensure that any man who has suffered an amputation in service shall be retained in the service and on service pay and allowances until at least 28 days after he has been satisfactorily fitted with an artificial limb.

Sir J. Nall

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will give sympathetic consideration to the question of supplying a free duplicate artificial limb to men who suffer amputations whilst serving in the Armed Forces and whose disabilities are not accepted for pension purposes as directly attributable to war service, so as to give these unpensioned men every opportunity to become self-supporting and lead, as far as possible, a normal life?

Sir W. Womersley

In this matter my Department acts on behalf of the Service Departments whom I will consult in regard to the hon. Member's proposal.

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