asked the Minister of Pensions what his Ministry regard as the definition of serious error for the purpose of a new award following upon the discovery of an erroneous award; and whether new assessments of 30 per cent. and under are admitted to pension?
asked the Minister of Pensions whether pension has been issued in every case in which special boards have found that an error had been made in the previous assessment; and whether he is aware that in several hundreds of such cases the Ministry has refused to make a fresh award?
asked the Minister of Pensions, seeing that the decision to reject the recommendations of special boards in favour of a pension in cases in which error in previous assessments has been found is left to officials of the Ministry, and in view of the widespread dissatisfaction with the Ministry's action in this matter, if he will consider the reference of all these cases to a small advisory committee, including a representative of the ex-service community?
An erroneous award means an award which the Minister finds to have been erroneously declared final because, as a result of a course of medical treatment and observation, it is seen to have involved a serious and permanent under estimate of the normal extent of disablement in consequence of an error of medical diagnosis or prognosis. The cases arising in which a serious error is suggested are exceptional and few in number. Each case has necessarily to be judged on its merits, and my right hon. Friend would have no authority to modify an award, which is statutorily final, in cases where no more than a slight temporary worsening can be shown. For such cases, I would remind hon. Members that the scheme of final awards includes the provision of treatment as one of its essential features. In every case, however, where my right hon. Friend is satisfied, on the advice of his responsible advisers, medical and other, that the conditions I have stated are fulfilled, the case is recommended for a grant under special sanction. The working of the arrangements at present in force is being carefully watched and I am glad to say that, as the local medical staff of the Ministry understand better the nature of the problem involved, which necessarily differs from that involved in assessment for conditional pension, their recommendations are found in an increasing majority of cases to be justified.