§ MR. BERESFORD
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that some of the Medical Officers, recently returned from the campaign in the Soudan, are to be sent abroad again immediately; what is the usual run of home service for Surgeons and Surgeon Majors; with reference to the recent rules made as to examinations for promotion, what chance have the Medical Officers of attending Civil Hospitals and gaining information, and why are not Medical Officers allowed leave to attend classes as the combatant officers are to attend Garrison Classes for their promotion examinations; and, can no arrangement be made which would insure a Medical Officer remaining at least a year in a station without a move?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. W. H. SMITH)
Service in Egypt and the Soudan does not count as a tour of foreign service unless it extends to 12 months; and, therefore, medical officers who have returned home after less than that service there will be required to complete their periods of foreign ser- 1626 vice, and will probably be sent abroad during the autumn for this purpose. The tour of home service during peace ranges from two and a-half to three years. Campaigns abroad reduce this average in proportion to the medical officers required. Medical officers, as a rule, have 61 days' leave yearly, during which they can adopt-any means they think desirable for increasing their professional knowledge. Special leave for the purpose of attending civil hospitals is occasionally granted; but the grant could not be made a general practice unless the medical staff were greatly augmented, the number of medical officers scarcely sufficing at any time for the work to be performed. Officers can attend civil hospitals or schools at places where they are stationed if their military duties are not thereby interfered with. Every endeavour is made to keep officers at the same station during a tour of home service. With this view applications for change of station are constantly refused.