Service Men (Medical Examination)

Oral Answers to Questions — Armed Forces – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

asked the Minister of Defence if he is aware of the widespread concern of the inadequate medical examination given to Service men prior to demobilisation, which tends to increase the number of healthy discharge reports and react unfavourably on subsequent applications for pension.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

I have been asked to reply. Arrangements are now in force in all three Services for a comprehensive medical survey of all officers and men to be carried out shortly before release or retirement. The result of this examination is carefuly recorded. Where, subsequently, a claim to pension arises, the applicant is examined by a Ministry of Pensions medical board, whose report, together with the applicant's Service history —including the report of the medical examination on release—and all other relevant evidence is considered before a decision is reached. Many claims succeed notwithstanding that the Service medical report records that nothing abnormal was discovered at the time it was made.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that there is a large amount of evidence that the scanty medical examinations have been most unjust when illness becomes obvious after discharge? Doe he not think that the only fair system is: Fit for Service, fit for pension?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

If my hon. looks at my reply, he will see it is to the effect that the examination, which I cannot agree is scanty, before release or retirement is not the important factor in whether the claim for pension can succeed or not.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that medical examination on entering the Services is as comprehensive as he hopes to make the release examination?

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

Was not the last sentence of the right hon. Gentleman's original reply to the effect that the examination of pensions claims shows the necessity in many cases to contradict the results of the examination when the pensioner left the Services, indicating that these examinations are quite useless? Will he see that they are properly carried out?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

No, Sir. My last sentence was that "many claims succeed notwithstanding that the Service medical report records that nothing abnormal was discovered at the time it was made." But we fully agree that something may develop which may be considered attributable and which may be brought out at the Ministry of Pensions medical board examination.