HC Deb 27 October 1976 vol 918 cc297-9W
Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why, when there were 60,000 Giro cheques for welfare benefits reported as lost last year and replaced but later found to have been cashed, only 3,500 prosecutions were instituted; how many of the 60,000 cheques were involved in those prosecu-

what is the ratio of obstetricians to 10,000 births in England, each regional health authority, and each area health authority, respectively.

Mr. Moyle

On 30th September 1975, there were approximately 2,300 doctors holding hospital posts in gynaecology and obstetrics in the National Health Service in England. A breakdown by sub-speciality is not available. In addition, there were 16,465 general practitioner obstetricians in England—that is, doctors whose obstetric experience had been approved by local obstetric committees. A breakdown of the figures by region is given below. An area breakdown of senior hospital medical staff is not available from central statistical returns.

tions: and if he is satisfied that there was no dishonesty involved in any of the remaining cases.

Mr. Ennals

Information is not available to answer this Question in the precise form and detail requested.

Over 90 million Giro cheques were issued during 1975, mainly through the post, in respect of the whole range of social security benefits, from the local and central offices of my Department and the Department of Employment. Of some 150,000 of these Giro cheques initially reported as not received, or lost, stolen or destroyed after receipt, in a wide variety of circumstances, about 80,000 were replaced. Some 60,000 of the Giro cheques which were replaced were subsequently found to have been cashed.

Investigation of each of the 60,000 cases in the year, to identify the person responsible for the encashment, is a widely variable process, spread over the whole country. Some are found to be cases of genuine error: some cases involving age, health or other humanitarian considerations, are disposed of by warning and recovery of the overpayment without prosecution.

The 3,500 cases prosecuted are the majority of the cases investigated by officers of the Departments, or by the police, in which the persons responsible were positively identified and sufficient evidence obtained to support a prosecution for theft or obtaining money by deception. The problems of securing such identification and evidence are common to all fraud involving instruments of payment, cheques etc. Some of these prosecutions involve more than one Giro cheque but detailed information is not available.

Forward to