§ 13 Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is aware that, whereas combatant officers' pensions have increased in value since the War, the pensions of officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps have decreased; that the pension earned by a major, Royal Army Medical Corps, at 20 years, is now £368 per annum, which, having regard to the increases in Income Tax and the cost of living, is worth little more than half the pre-War rate of £365 per annum, fixed in the reorganisation of the Army Medical Service in 1902; and if he will state whether it is proposed to reduce or increase this pension next year;
(2) if he can give any undertaking that the maximum pension for a lieutenant-colonel of the Royal Army Medical Corps, attainable after 28 years' service, will not be further reduced from its present amount of £558;
(3) if he is aware that the officer strength of the Royal Army Medical Corps is inadequate for requirements, resulting in the employment of civilian practitioners and the re-employment of retired officers, all of whom do Home Service only, and that the average period of Foreign service undertaken by regular officers, Royal Army Medical Corps, has increased in consequence; and whether, seeing that this prospect is bound adversely to affect the recruitment of young medical officers to the service, he will consider how these conditions of service can be improved?
§ Mr. SHAW
I have under my personal consideration at the present time the whole question of the supply of officers for the Royal Army Medical Corps. As regards the detailed information for which the hon. and gallant Member asks, last year special steps were taken to render conditions of service in the Corps more attractive. Certain concessions have been made regarding the counting, for purposes of promotion, increase of pay and pension, by officers appointed to permanent commissions in the Corps, of temporary service in the Corps or of time spent in a civil hospital appointment. The Army Council are also in touch with civil hospitals at the present time to see whether arrangements can be made by which Royal Army Medical Corps officers may be enabled to secure experience in civil hospital appointments.
As regards retired pay, the retired pay of Majors and Lieutenant-Colonels of the Royal Army Medical Corps in receipt of post-war scales is subject, like that of other officers, to revision next year in the light of the cost of living figure. I cannot anticipate what the result of that revision will be.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
Is it not a fact that the pensions of lieut-colonels have been reduced already this year to £1 a day, and that they will be further reduced next year? Is this not more likely to affect the recruiting of young medical officers, who will know that at the age of 48 they will be stranded in the world with a pension of not more than £1 a day?
§ Lieut-Colonel FREMANTLE
Would the right hon. Gentleman say when he is likely to be able to report some of the results of the consideration of the matter which has now been going on for 10 years?
§ Lieut-Colonel FREMANTLE
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the question of the recruitment, of medical officers will arise again this June, and that presumably he will not be able to get a supply of officers for this Corps unless these matters are remedied?