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Vaccine-Damaged Children

Volume 978: debated on Monday 4 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of the disquiet by the parents of vaccine-damaged children about the operation of the present scheme and the attitude which he has taken to it, whether he will now speed up the handling of the present applications and give further consideration to the basis on which "seriously disabled" is interpreted.

Very few applications await initial determination. There are, however, about 1,100 cases to be reviewed by tribunals. This is bound to take a considerable time, as the number of tribunals is limited by the need for specialist medical representation. While I hope that cases will be cleared as soon as possible, it is even more important to give a full and fair hearing in every case.The Vaccine Damage Payments Act provides that for the purpose of determining entitlement a person is severely disabled if he suffers disablement to the extent of 80 per cent. or more. The interpretation of this test in the review of particular cases is a matter for the tribunal.