Treatment Allowance (L. Connolly).

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 6th July 1922.

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Photo of Mr Duncan Graham Mr Duncan Graham , Hamilton

8 and 9.

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) whether he is aware that an ex-soldier named Laurence Connolly, of 38, Church Street, Hamilton, was examined by a medical referee on 19th November, 1921, who recommended home treatment; that on 8th December, 1921, he was again examined at the cardiac clinic, Glasgow, and was then stated to be fit for work; that a still further examination was made into the condition of this man on 16th January, 1922, by the cardiac specialist, who decided he was unfit for work and recommended in-patient treatment; and that during the whole of the period between 19th November, 1921 and 16th January. 1922, Mr. Connolly was unfit for work and no treatment allowance was granted: that, if so, will he state the reason why treatment allowance was withheld;

(2) whether he is aware that an ex soldier named John E. Kelly, of 196, Glasgow Road, Burnbank, Hamilton, has been refused treatment allowance on the ground that his disability is such that he would not be unable to work at a remunerative occupation; that the disability from which Mr. Kelly suffers affects; his eyesight, and that he has to use special glasses; that it is practically impossible for a man in Mr. Kelly's condition to obtain employment as a miner, which is the occupation to which he belongs: will he state what kind of remunerative occupation he is fit for in the opinion of the doctor who examined him; and whether any, or what, steps will be taken by the Pensions Department to assist Mr. Kelly in finding such occupation?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

My hon. Friend appcars to be under some misapprehension as regards the conditions govern- ing the grant of treatment allowances. These allowances are not granted because the man may be physically unable to work, but only if, in consequence of a course of treatment approved by the Ministry, he is rendered unable to provide for his own support and that of his family. Neither fitness nor unfitness for work is itself a criterion, and any such expression of opinion by a medical officer in this connection is therefore irrelevant, and, indeed, contrary to official instructions. In the short time available I have not been able to get a full report on the individual cases, but I hope to be in a position to write to my hon. Friend about them in a few days.

Photo of Mr James Brown Mr James Brown , South Ayrshire

Does the right hon. Gentleman think his reply covers both questions, 8 and 9?

Photo of Mr James Brown Mr James Brown , South Ayrshire

Pursuing the question further, does not the right hon. Gentleman think a man's occupation ought to be judged by the occupation he was following? A tribunal can say a man is fit for work, but he may be unfit to follow a particular occupation.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member is making a speech.