HC Deb 07 August 1900 vol 87 cc913-4
MR. THORNTON (Clapham)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the 400 Volunteer medical officers serving in South Africa are to be placed on the same financial footing as members of the Army Medical Corps, who receive colonial allowances of 1s. 6d. per day in the Cape Colony, and a larger gratuity of over 4s. a day both in the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal.

I beg also to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether, as the civil surgeons of the Army do not enjoy colonial allowance, they yet receive the same aggregate amount of pay as other medical men under Lord Roberts's command; and, if an inequality exists, whether he will endeavour to rectify it.


In reply to the two questions asked by the lion. Member I about the pay of civil medical practitioners serving in South Africa, I may say that the position of these gentlemen differs in one important particular from that of officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. The latter receive rates of pay which are calculated with reference to the general services which they have to perform at all times and in all parts of the world. The conditions of the present war are, however, unusual as regards the specially high cost of living in South Africa, and it was therefore thought reasonable that special colonial allowances should be granted to them to enable them to meet this extra expense. The case of the civil surgeons is quite different. They made a special contract for service in South Africa during the present war, and there is therefore nothing unforeseen in the conditions of their service which we feel called upon to meet by an alteration in their favour in the terms of the contract. As a matter of fact they receive higher emoluments than many of the officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. My attention has been called to the fact that civil veterinary surgeons are receiving colonial allowances. That is so, the reason being that they are paid at the rate of Army veterinary surgeons, and not at a special rate calculated with a view to the present war.