Sir F. HALL:81.
asked the Minister of Pensions whether officers and men whose cases some before a medical appeal board are now entitled to appeal from the decision of such board to another tribunal; and, if so, will he state why this fact is suppressed in form M.P.O. 61V issued by the Ministry of Pensions to those who appeal against a decision of a medical board?
My hon. and gallant Friend appears to be under a misapprehension as to the respective functions of the medical appeal board and assessment appeal tribunals. The assessment appeal tribunals, which were constituted under Section 4 of the War Pensions Act, 1921, deal only with appeals against a decision of the Minister that the award made in a given case is final. The medical appeal boards deal with appeals against the assessments made by other medical boards of the Ministry. They decide matters of assessment only, and do not pronounce as to the finality of the awards. There would consequently be no ground of appeal directly from the medical appeal board to the appeal tribunal. I may point out, however, that when the finding of a medical board is made final by the Minister, the pensioner is so notified, and is at the same time informed fully of his right of appeal to the tribunal.
I am very much obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend for putting this question, with a view to clearing up the position. These men have the right of appeal, some to the Medical Appeal Board and some to the Special Assessment Tribunal. But all have a right of appeal.
If my hon. and gallant Friend will listen to my reply, I will endeavour to inform him. These final awards are only just now beginning to reach the tribunals authorised by this House, and so far very few appeals have been made.
Would it be correct to say that the Board was not set up as recently as five weeks ago? Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware, also, that there are in South Wales over 100 cases now waiting, these having not been able to get any sort of appeal or re-assessment, and is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that I have brought two cases specially to his notice?
I am sorry, if my hon. and gallant Friend is so anxious for this information, that he did not put a question down. Then I could have had the pleasure of giving it to him. As a matter of fact, there have been very few appeals, and I understand that they are being dealt with satisfactorily.
I am very much obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend. I will endeavour to do all I can to make the matter clear. I am glad for that reason that he has put this question down.