HC Deb 30 January 1961 vol 633 cc76-7W
76. Lord Balniel

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will take steps to analyse sickness benefit records so as to provide information to research workers concerned with the effect of occupation and environment on health.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter:

I am arranging for the sickness records of a sample of the insured population covering the twelve months beginning on 5th June, 1961, to be analysed in such a way as to compare the nature and extent of incapacity for work in different occupations and in different areas. For this purpose I am inviting employers to cooperate with my Department by answering a simple inquiry, to be issued by National Insurance offices in June next, in respect of 5 per cent. of employed men and 2½ per cent. of insured employed women. The inquiry form will contain only two questions: it will ask for a description of the occupation followed by the employee, and it will ask whether any payment is made by the employer when the employee is away ill.

The results of this inquiry should provide research workers with a picture of the distribution of illness in the working community which will indicate those groups of people which most merit further study to determine the causes in such illnesses as bronchitis, mental disorders, and rheumatism and arthritis, which between them account for more than a quarter of the sickness recorded among the working population.