HC Deb 04 March 1919 vol 113 cc191-2
18. Mr. LYLE

asked the Secretary for War if he will give the number of doctors and of nurses employed by the Army on 11th November, 1918; if he will state the number of doctors and nurses employed by the Army at the present time; what were the proportions of doctors and nurses to the mobilised forces on 11th November, 1918; and what are these proportions now?


There were 11,193 doctors and 23,931 nurses employed in the Army on 11th November last, and 9,593 doctors and 20,141 nurses are at present serving. The proportion of doctors in November was 1 to 318 all ranks, and is now 1 to 314 all ranks. The proportion of nurses in November was 1 to 148 all ranks, and is now 1 to 149 all ranks. I would point out that the demobilisation of doctors and nurses bears little relationship to the demobilisation of the Army as a whole; it is dependent at the bases and at home on the discharge of the hospital population and in the field upon reduction in units and formations. A very large number of civil doctors and nurses who were employed in the Voluntary Aid Detachment hospitals which have been closed, and who have been released, are not included in the figures I have given. As I said the other day, I have not been at all satisfied with the rate at which the demobilisation of doctors is proceeding, and I have given very strong orders that all efforts are to be made to demobilise doctors at an increasing rate to make sure, now that the fighting is stopped, we have not a great number of medical men waiting at our establishments overseas who are more urgently needed at home.


Does the right hon. Gentleman fully realise that owing to the influenza epidemic in this country hundreds of people—I do not think I am exaggerating—are dying for want of nursing. The point of the question is the lack of nurses as well as doctors.


Yes, Sir, I do realise that, and now that fighting has stopped the rate of demobilisation of doctors and nurses must be greatly increased.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Admiralty to see that similar steps are taken by them?