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Ministry of Pensions.

Part of Orders of the Day — Civil Services Supplementary Estimates, 1919–20. – in the House of Commons on 9th December 1919.

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Photo of Major John Molson Major John Molson , Gainsborough

I should like to endorse what has been said with regard to boards. I am personally acquainted with the work of the boards, as I was a medical officer during the War and was on a medical board. I would like very strongly to urge the Minister of Pensions that a great deal more attention should be paid to the staffs appointed to medical boards, and more especially to the presidents of the medical boards. I know from personal experience of very bad cases of men sent into the Army who ought not to have been sent at all. Of course, that is too long ago now to correct, but that is probably part of the cause of our heavy pension list. At the present time a great deal more attention should be paid to the personnel of the medical boards. I have only recently had cases brought to my attention in which the medical boards overlooked serious trouble. If a medical board has very much work to do it passes over the cases rather quickly and simply takes a man's statement. An officer or man who really wishes to make light of his trouble does not say very much about it. I have known several cases in which the cases of an officer or a man have not been suitably examined. Only recently I advised an officer to send Ids case forward to the Appeal Board. In Canada, where they have a great many pensions at the present time, they have started the particularly good method of having a specialist travelling over the country and investigating all the cases which are receiving pensions under his Department. That is perfectly right, because in some cases the pensions have to be increased, while in ether cases the Government save a great deal of money by having the pensions knocked off. If the right hon. Gentleman desires any information on that subject I can give him information which may be of value. I confirm the remarks of my hon. Friend opposite that now when the War is over the personnel of the boards should be very carefully revised. It was only just to our brave men during the War, and it is only just to the taxpayers now, because they may be paying too much in many cases.