I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, if, in view of the Army Medical Report on the health of the troops in India, the Government will inquire into the whole facts of the case?
§ MR. C. J. DARLING (Deptford)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to a statement in The Times of Friday last to the effect that it is alleged in India that 522 soldiers per 1,000 are now incapacitated from duty by reason of contagious disease; and whether the Government propose speedily to deal with this question to prevent this evil from rendering inefficient the forces of the Crown in India, and from endangering the health and the lives of people in this country as the troops return home?
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the admission to hospital for venereal disease of the British Army in India amounted to 536 per thousand for the year 1895, an increase of 25.2 on the previous year; and what steps the Government propose to take in the matter?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
It is the case that the total aggregate admissions to hospital for venereal disease among the British troops in India amounted in the year 1895 to 522 per thousand, but this does not mean that 398 522 men per thousand were separately and individually affected, still less does it indicate that 522 soldiers per thousand are incapacitated for duty from this cause. It is calculated on the latest returns that an average permanent deduction of 46 per thousand is the loss entailed by these diseases. The facts as to the serious increase of this disease in India are now being inquired into by a Departmental Committee, on receipt of whose Report Her Majesty's Government will carefully consider the whole subject.
May I take the 522 per thousand men to mean men who have passed through the hospital suffering from this particular form of disease?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
Yes. It means the total number of admissions, but the same man may be admitted more than once.
§ MAJOR RASCH
Can the noble Lord tell us when the Report of the Departmental Committee will be in the hands of Members?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
No, Sir. There is certain further information which may take a short time before we obtain it. But I think in the course of a few weeks the report will, I will not say be in the hands of Members, but certainly concluded.