HC Deb 06 March 1961 vol 636 cc8-9W
73. Mr. Kelley

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in how many cases pneumoconiosis medical panels have examined persons in life and failed to diagnose pneumoconiosis, whereas subsequent post-mortem examinations have revealed the presence of the disease.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I realise that cases of the kind indicated do occasionally arise, as indeed do cases in which the circumstances are reversed. Though precise statistics are lacking I am, however, satisfied that such cases are very rare.

Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance with reference to the figures for North Staffordshire contained in the Digest of Pneumoconiosis Statistics, 1959, what factors are responsible for the relatively high figures; whether he is satisfied with the system of assessment, in view of the fact that after re-examination in only one case was the amount increased; how many persons have continued employment in approved dust conditions; how many have been found other employment; how many are unemployed: in how many cases National Assistance is being sought; and what is the total number of dependants in such cases.

Mr. Sharples

I am not clear which particular figures the hon. Member has in mind. But, as my predecessor explained to him, it is not possible to assess the relative weight of the various factors, including those which influence men in presenting themselves for examination, which affect these statistics. As far as assessments of disablement are concerned, my right hon. Friend is satisfied that the present practice of the Pneumoconiosis Medical Panels accords with the statutory requirements, and the hon. Member is under a misapprehension as to the number of cases where assessments have been increased. I regret that the information about the number of pneumoconiotics who are in receipt of National Assistance is not available. The remaining matters are for my right hon. Friends the Ministers of Labour and Power.

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