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Volume 35: debated on Monday 17 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the normal length of time after death for a pneumoconiosis medical panel (a) to study the remains of a dead man's lungs and (b) to notify the local coroner of their findings; and if he is satisfied that in such matters progress is made as rapidly as desirable.

Panels take typically 1–4 weeks to complete their investigations. However, the length of time can vary considerably in individual cases, depending on their complexity and on local circumstances. On completion reports go to the independent authorities responsible for adjudicating claims for industrial death benefit and at the same time the coroner is informed of the Panel's conclusions. All those concerned are aware of the importance of determining claims speedily, but this must be balanced against the need to establish the facts of the case thoroughly and accurately.