Dáil Éireann - Volume 135 - 04 December, 1952
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Food Vouchers.
Mr. O'Higgins Mr. O'Higgins
Mr. O'Higgins asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware that under instructions issued in circular 74/75, dated 21st October, 1952, from his Department, the issue of food vouchers to persons who are in receipt of infectious diseases maintenance allowances ceased as from 1st November, 1952, because of the increase in national health allowance; and whether he will reconsider the decision to stop food allowances in view of the fact that owing to present prices particularly of milk, butter and eggs the increased national health benefits count for very little in all cases, and actually mean a reduced amount of nourishment in the case of single persons.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: I presume that the Deputy is referring to Department of Health circular 74/52 of 21st October, 1952, to health authorities on the subject of the increased allowances payable under the Infectious Diseases (Maintenance) Regulations, 1952, to infectious disease sufferers. The circular informed those authorities, that, in view of the increased allowances now payable under the regulations, I considered that the issue of vouchers for extra nourishment to certain limited classes of tuberculous patients in receipt of allowances should cease.
The Deputy may not be aware that the issue of vouchers for extra nourishment to necessitous tuberculous patients undergoing domiciliary or dispensary treatment was commenced  some years before the introduction of the maintenance allowance scheme at a time when the cash income, if any, of such patients was, as a rule very limited. That scheme was introduced for the purpose of providing such patients with cash allowances to enable them to maintain themselves (and any dependents) during their course of treatment. The scale of allowance payable under the scheme is reasonably generous and compares very favourably with other social welfare benefits.
In the circumstances, and having regard to the increased maintenance allowances and social welfare benefits now payable, I do not consider that the grant of vouchers for extra nourishment to persons in receipt of such allowances and benefits is now necessary. Health authorities have been advised, however, that vouchers for extra nourishment may continue to be issued to necessitous patients, e.g., married women and children undergoing dispensary or domiciliary treatment, who are not eligible for cash allowances. If, however, any Deputy is aware of any case of a single person in which hardship has resulted from the present arrangement, I will have it investigated if he will furnish me with particulars.
Dáil Éireann 135 Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. Food Vouchers.