HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1965-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that English and Irish soldiers are under treatment in Llanchoil hospital, Forres, Gray's hospital, Elgin, Gordon Castle, Fochabers, and other hospitals in the North of Scotland; and whether he will arrange that so far as practicable Scottish soldiers are sent to hospitals in Scotland in preference to English and Irish soldiers in order that their relatives may be able to visit them without incurring what is frequently the prohibitive expense of a journey to England?


I had understood from my hon. Friend that Belgians were occupying some of these hospitals. Every endeavour is made to send our own patients, arriving from overseas, to hospitals in the neighbourhood of their homes, but, owing to the fact that men are sent from the port of disembarkation in ambulance trains, each carrying 100 or more patients, it is not always possible to do so. My hon. Friend will realise that in many instances it is not to the advantage of the patients themselves that they should be sent on a long railway journey on arrival in this country.


Is it not equally possible for a Sottish soldier to stand the journey as an English soldier? Numbers of English soldiers are sent up there. Is it not the case that two at least of these hospitals were occupied by Belgians in the month of January and February? Why should not Scottish soldiers have the preference in their own country?


I have told my hon. Friend before that the preference is always given to soldiers of sending them to the convalescent hospitals or homes which are nearest their own homes. But I am sure that my hon. Friend will realise the difficulty of sorting out all those cases and putting the right man in the right place. That is a difficulty which is occurring every day in my life. My hon. Friend will realise that much depends upon, the nature and condition of the wound.