§ MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether it is a fact that the effective branch of the Army Medical Department is and has been for some time much below its authorised strength; whether the cost of the non-effective branch of the Army Medical Department is now nearly equal to, if it does not exceed, the cost of the effective branch; whether he is aware that many of the medical officers who now retire on a pension at the early age of about 15 are willing to remain on the active list; and whether he will take stops to retain on the active list medical officers who now retire in the prime of life, but who are willing to remain on the active list?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS, Birmingham, S.)
The establishment of officers of the Army Medical Staff has been below strength, and there are now about 40 vacancies. The non-effective charge is only about half of the effective charge. Medical officers who retire at the age of 45 do so voluntarily, and there is no power to retain them in the service against, their will; but they are liable to be recalled to service up to the age of 55 if emergency arises.
§ DR FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
May ask whether it is not the fact that the compulsory clause does not take effect until the officers are 55 years of age?
That is the fact. Those who retire at 45 retire voluntarily, and all who retire at that age are liable to come up for service if emergency arises.