§ Mr. Crouch
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the report on the supply of surgical appliances to war pensioners; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
The report gives the results of a study by Research Surveys of Great Britain Ltd. which forms an extension of the survey of artificial limb users described in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Sir H. Rossi) on 27 July 1984 at columns853–4.
The study was funded by the Department and carried out at the end of 1984 at the request of the working party which, under the chairmanship of Professor Ian McColl, is reviewing the services provided by artificial limb and appliance centres in England. It was designed primarily to 169W assess war pensioners' experience of the provision through the centres of surgical appliances, and involved a postal survey of 1,798 individuals.
Most of those surveyed said they were fairly satified or very satisfied with the service currently provided. Five per cent. were on the whole dissatisfied, and many of these were concerned about problems with appliances, particularly those of getting a well-fitting appliance. The survey indicated a low level of awareness among war pensioners that the National Health Service also provides a comprehensive surgical appliances service through hospitals. Of those who had used both services a small majority preferred that provided by the hospitals.
With the agreement of Professor McColl I am placing copies of the report in the Library and sending copies to organisations representing war pensioners. Copies will be available to other interested organisations on request.