§ Sir E. Graham-Little
asked the Minister of National Insurance what is the position of approved societies at the present time; whether members can continue to make use of the service given in the past; or whether they must accept transference to his Department.
§ Mr. Steele
In preparation for the launching of the new scheme of national insurance next July, the smaller approved societies and available members of their 111W staffs are now being transferred to local offices of the Ministry of National Insurance in accordance with an agreed programme. The process began in October and it is to be completed by next March. There are approximately 6,000 approved society units within the scope of this preparatory operation with a combined membership of about 5,000,000 insured persons. I should make it clear that though the administration is transferred to the Ministry's local office, the benefits, including additional benefits, of each society will remain available to its mem- 112W bers up to the appointed day for the operation of the new scheme. The large societies, which are about 40 in number with a combined membership of approximately 15,000,000, are continuing their administration on its present basis until the end of next March, when the transfer of their functions to local offices of the Ministry will begin. As regards the latter part of the Question, once a society has been transferred to a local office the National Health Insurance business of its members is undertaken by this Department.