§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that upwards of 200 sick and wounded officers, and 2,500 men are annually brought home as invalids from India and the Colonies, and that the present method of conveyance by hired troop-ship service has been unfavourably reported upon in the Army Medical Blue Book for 1897, he will consider whether the War Office can establish a permanent hospital ship for this service?
MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
The provision of a hospital ship for conveying the sick and wounded from India to this country would rest with the Indian Government, and after very full consideration the Secretary of State is not prepared to press the adoption of such a system upon that Department. The balance of advantage is not by any means entirely on the side of a hospital ship for the conveyance of invalids as against their more rapid and frequent conveyance on board transports, in the equipment of which great improvements have recently taken place. These considerations apply with special force to our widely scattered Colonial garrisons, invalids from which are sent home by packet at the earliest possible opportunity.