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Ministry Of Pensions

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 24 April 1951

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Hospital Admission

1.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that Mr. Pedley, 7, Westlands, Congleton, who was a prisoner of war in Siam and who is, in consequence suffering from amoebic dysentery, and is in receipt of a pension, has been waiting to go into hospital for seven weeks; and what arrangements are being made for the admittance of Mr. Pedley to hospital.

There has been a temporary strain on the accommodation available in the tropical disease units. When I received the hon. and gallant Member's recent letter indicating a worsening of Mr. Pedley's condition since he was examined in February, I made immediate arrangements to admit him to Roehampton Hospital today. I regret the delay and I am sending the hon. and gallant Member a full explanation of the reasons for it.

While I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the urgent action he has taken, may I ask him whether he will impress upon his medical advisers that more considerate treatment should be shown in cases of ex-prisoners of war like Mr. Pedley, who now weighs only eight stone and whose health is in very bad condition?

I regret the delay, but there were special circumstances. In the early part of the year we had an extra rush in this department. The man was not considered to be so seriously ill when first seen, and he was put back for further examination. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman wrote to me, we took the man into hospital at once.

Appeal

2.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will now expedite a decision in the case of Mr. J. L. Tuke, Gables Filling Station, Rayleigh, Essex, who appealed against a reduction of his disability pension in November, 1949.

I must regret that, owing to a number of factors, delay occurred in sending the appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal. The special reasons which since October have prevented it going forward have been explained in correspondence with the hon. Member. The appeal has now been sent to the Tribunal for hearing.

Is not the Minister aware that, but for this man's appeal to me, his Member of Parliament, the delay would have continued? Why should this unfortunate man, who is living in very difficult circumstances, who is in poor health and at the moment unemployed, have to wait so long for what is, after all, his statutory right?

I make no excuse for the mistake in this case. There was delay in the beginning, due to a fault on our side. Later, the man's doctor did not give us information for which we asked. I am sorry that there has been delay, and I am glad that the hon. Gentleman wrote to us so that we could put the matter in hand. This has given me an opportunity to check up on the routine work. I hope to prevent similar cases in future.