§ 29. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Postmaster-General whether attendance by the medical officer of his Department is compulsory on all sick telephone operators employed at the General Post Office South who are not sufficiently indisposed to remain at home or become indisposed after their arrival on duty; whether complaints have been made by telephonists employed at these exchanges as to delays and the arrangements for patients who desire attention from the medical officers; whether the number of patients who desire attention is daily so large that it is impossible for the doctor to attend to them in the limited time at her disposal, and that operators are frequently asked, after waiting some hours, to postpone their consultation; will he consider whether the number of the staff employed and the number of applications for medical attention would justify the daily attendance of the medical officers from 10 a.m.; and whether he will cause some inquiry to be made into the sufficiency or otherwise 1140 of the medical arrangements at the General Post Office South?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The answer to the first part of the question is that if any medical attention is required by a telephonist who is indisposed either on arrival or subsequently, such attention has to be given by a medical officer of the Department. No official complaint that I can trace has been made either as to delay or other arrangements. There has been a considerable amount of minor sickness lately, and a consequent congestion of patients and some regrettable delay, though no one has been asked to postpone their consultation. It does not appear to be necessary to keep a medical officer in continual daily attendance as there is always a trained nurse at the General Post Office South, and few of the cases are serious. I am calling for a report on the whole question of medical arrangements at those centres where there is a large attendance of staff.