HC Deb 13 May 1915 vol 71 cc1815-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he will state what arrangements have been made by the War Office to provide hospital treatment on purely medical lines for cases of nerve strain among the rank and file where each case may be sifted and diagnosed on arrival in England before being placed in charge of medical officers (Royal Army Medical Corps) who have been taken over from the asylum service?


At large hospital centres in France specialists in nervous diseases, not alienists, see all cases of nerve strain and determine to which clearing hospital the cases should be sent on arrival in England. At these hospitals the cases are carefully gone into and those which are suitable are transferred to certain special hospitals, which are quite distinct from what my hon. Friend calls the asylum service.


Will the soldiers who are placed in such hospitals, which are really asylums, have the same right of appeal against decisions as ordinary civilians?


I do not quite understand the question; perhaps my hon. Friend will put a fresh question.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he will consider the advisability of providing for the treatment of transiently acute cases of mental disturbance among soldiers by the methods applicable to delirious (toxic) cases in general hospitals, with a view to keeping them apart from lunacy and asylum management?


The cases mentioned in the question are dealt with at either "D" block, Netley, or Napsbury Military Hospital. These cases are kept absolutely apart from certified mental cases and the hospitals are under War Office management.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that by the provisions of the Mental Treatment Bill now before the House the soldier disabled by nerve strain will be liable, when discharged uncured from the Army, to be placed, at the discretion of one doctor, for six months under care and treatment in an institution intended for the insane; that there is no provision in the Bill for any appeal to a magistrate; and will he undertake to propose or accept an Amendment whereby the ordinary safe guards extended hitherto to all British subjects protecting them from unjust treatment may be made equally applicable for the protection of soldiers?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. I think my hon. Friend has misunderstood the object of the Bill, which was to secure suitable treatment of cases of nerve strain without compulsory detention; but I need not go further into the matter, as I hope that arrangements for this purpose may now be made without legislation and that it will not be necessary to proceed with the Bill.


Will the soldiers have right of appeal to the magistrates in the same way as civilians?


I think my hon. Friend must put that question to the War Office.