Skip to main content

Pneumoconiosis

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 26 May 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in how many cases in each of the last 10 years the decision of the statutory authorities has conflicted with the opinion of the family doctor in cases of attributing death to pneumoconiosis;(2) in how many cases in each of the last 10 years the decision of the statutory authorities has conflicted with the opinion of the coroner in cases of attributing death to pneumoconiosis;(3) in how many appeals against the decision of the statutory authorities, in cases of ruling on death claimed to be due to pneumoconiosis, the appeal has been allowed in each of the last 10 years.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to provide that the decisions of a family doctor and the coroner should be accepted when they agree on attributing death to pneumoconiosis and that the pneumoconiosis medical panel should have the right to appeal when it wishes to do so.

No. I understand the reason for my hon. Friend's suggestion, and I recognise that the question whether death has resulted from pneumoconiosis within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1975 can be a difficult one. But, where there is a conflict of medical opinion, it seems to me right that the weight to be given to evidence from the different sources should be determined by the independent statutory authorities responsible for determining claims to industrial death benefit—the insurance officer or, on appeal, the local tribunal or Commissioner.The Government have, however, given practical expression to its concern in this field in the Social Security (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1977. Under that Act, entitlement to industrial death benefit can be automatic where death was due to a pulmonary disease and disablement from pneumoconiosis had been assessed at 50 per cent. or more in life.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in how many cases of death being attributed to pneumoconiosis in the last 10 years the insurance officer or other authority has appealed; and in how many and what percentage of cases the appeal was successful.

I regret that the full information requested is not available. The table below shows the position over the four year period 1973–76.

Number of Appeals to National Insurance Commissioner by Insurance OfficerNumber of successful appealsPercentage successful
19731010100
19749888
197577100
19765480