§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the reasons why he will not introduce measures to ensure that the costs of hospital treatment and care given to potholers and others who take deliberate risks outside their normal occupations may be reclaimed in the way described by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on 18 January.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
An element of risk is inherent in many sporting and recreational activities. An arrangement such as the hon. Member envisages would require an arbitrary distinction to be drawn between deliberate risks and those which were acceptable and incidental to the activity. It would also necessitate placing those concerned under a statutory obligation, which does not exist at present, to insure themselves against the risks in question; and hospitals might well experience difficulty in identifying cases where reimbursement was due. I am 429W not convinced that such a measure would command public acceptance or that the saving to public funds would justify its administrative cost.