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Down's Syndrome

Volume 975: debated on Friday 7 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of recent concern about cases of Down's syndrome, he is satisfied with the independent adjudicating authorities' interpretation, and the application in practice, of the Mobility Allowance Amendment Regulations 1979.

These regulations, together with the national insurance commissioner's decision in the case of a young boy with Down's syndrome which gave rise to them, were brought to the attention of the adjudicating authorities who, independent of the Secretary of State, are statutorily charged with determining claims for mobility allowance. We believe that, generally, they are being properly taken into account by those authorities where appropriate and a number of medical appeal tribunals have referred to them specifically in their decisions.We are aware of at least 50 cases where the disabled person has been able to succeed to the allowance as a result. On the other hand, we are aware of one particular case causing concern at present but it is still to be heard by a medical appeal tribunal, the highest of the medical authorities, and we must await the outcome of that hearing. I would emphasise that a number of these cases, because of the difficulty they cause to lower authorities, are likely to reach the tribunal stage, where the correct outcome should be ensured by the consultant medical members guided by a legally qualified chairman.

We shall continue carefully to monitor these provisions but all the indications are that they are achieving the purpose for which they are designed.