Benefit Claim, Slough (Inquiries)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25 October 1949.

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Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor 12:00, 25 October 1949

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he is aware that an official of his Department at Slough recently cross-questioned an applicant for sick benefit, whose name and address have been supplied to the Minister, as to why, in certain circumstances, he employed the services of a private doctor, and what fee had been paid; and whether he will issue instructions that this interference into the rights of the private citizen shall cease forthwith.

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

I am looking into this matter, and I will write to the hon. Member when my inquiries are complete.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

Yes, but would not the hon. Gentleman agree that this is highly reprehensible conduct, that one of the officials of his Department should cross-question an applicant as to whether he had employed the services of a private doctor, and should try to persuade him not to do so? Surely an individual should be left freely to choose a doctor from inside the scheme or outside, as he wishes?

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

Any practice of this kind contained in the allegation would, of course, be entirely unauthorised, but I should like to make further investigations before making any further comment.