HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc327-8W
19. Mrs. Betty Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Appeals Service in Wales to ensure that bilingual medical officers are available to users. [59926]

Mr. Touhig

Responsibility for the Appeals Service rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Persons are appointed to the appeal tribunal panel, including those medically qualified, by my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor. Operational matters rest with the chief executive of the Appeals Service.

Where an appeal tribunal requires a medically qualified panel member it is normally the case that the panel member will reside locally. However it will not always be the case that the medically qualified panel member will be bilingual. An interpreter will be made available where necessary.