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Volume 640: debated on Monday 8 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will prescribe emphysema on the Schedule of Industrial Diseases.

As emphysema among people who work in dust, like miners and pottery workers, is so close to pneumoconiosis, will not the right hon. Gentleman obtain further advice to see whether emphysema may be scheduled for people who are working in dust industries?

I have certainly studied this matter closely, because, as the hon. Lady knows, this is far from the first time that the suggestion has been made. Part of the problem is that a very large amount of the emphysema that we find has nothing whatever to do with pneumoconiosis and clearly is one of those risks of the population at large which, as the hon. Lady will recall, are excluded by Section 55 (2) of the Industrial Injuries Act.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider this problem from another angle and, instead of using an isolated word like emphysema, will he consider pulmonary disability in all those engaged in certain industries after a specified number of years in those industries in the way that South Africans do in gold mining? If he did this, he would probably do justice to so many of our constituents who find that it is quite wrong and unconscionable to them that they should not receive compensation although they suffer from this disease?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, considerable research work concerning pneumoconiosis and related conditions is being done at the moment by the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit of the Medical Research Council at Llandough, which I hope to see again in a week or two. However, the hon. Gentleman will understand if I show a certain unwillingness to accept a medical formula from him across the Floor of the House, as I have not his medical qualifications.