§ Mr. Lubbock
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what is the annual cost of referring sickness benefit claimants for examination by doctors of the regional medical service of the Ministry of Health; and what is the amount by which sickness benefit payments are reduced as a result of these examinations.
§ Mr. Pentland
During 1965, 581,000 sickness benefit claimants were referred, at an estimated cost to the three Depart-14W ments concerned of £1.1 million which is less than .5 per cent. of the annual cost of sickness benefit. Of those referred about 300,000 returned to work after being informed that they had been referred or as the result of medical examination. As it is not known how far the intention to examine them or the fact that they were examined caused them to return to work earlier than they otherwise might have done it is not possible to estimate the benefit saving.