HC Deb 20 March 1900 vol 80 c1305

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for War when it will be possible to give a decided answer to the offer made on 21st December last by the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to take in twenty sick and wounded men of the Devon Regiment on their return from active service.


There has been some misapprehension on this point, and I should like, if the House will allow me, to explain it rather fully. It was apprehended that the accommodation of the military hospitals might prove insufficient for the number of invalids arriving from South Africa. A circular was accordingly sent by the War Office to the various town and country hospitals to ascertain what number of beds could, if need should arise, be assigned to military patients. Our intention is to use these beds only as a reserve, when the military hospitals are full. In many cases, including the Royal Devon and Exeter, we were met by the generous offer of a number of free beds. But the military hospitals are not yet full; only about 2,000 invalids have so far arrived from South Africa, and many of these have already been sent on sick furlough; so that it is impossible to say when, or whether, recourse must be had to civil hospitals. There is, however, no necessity for keeping beds vacant in any civil hospital, since we propose to give ten days' or a fortnight's notice in every case.