HC Deb 07 December 1939 vol 355 cc787-8
11. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Minister of Labour whether doctors who conduct examinations under the Military Service Act are familiar with the training given in the forces to the men they examine; and, if not, will he take steps to see that all members of medical boards are invited to witness such training so that they may relate their examinations to what is expected of the men later?

Mr. E. Brown

The classification of men examined by medical boards in the categories specified in the National Service (Armed Forces) (Miscellaneous) Regulations, 1939, is based on medical grounds and it is for the military authorities to determine the kind of service for which men so classified are suitable and to post them accordingly. In the circumstances, I think it unnecessary to adopt the suggestion in the last part of the question, even if it were practicable to do so.

Mr. Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that youths are often passed for military service by medical officers who in the opinion of their private doctors and in the opinion of an average layman are totally unfit to be sent for training of this kind?

Mr. Brown

There are cases which have been brought to notice where reexamination has taken place. That is not the question I am asked. I am asked to adopt another system, and I would like to inform the hon. Member that that system was adopted in the last war, was proved ineffective and was abandoned.

Mr. Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a man in my division has committed suicide because he was passed for military training when he was totally unfit?

Mr. T. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many retired doctors are now examining these recruits; and have these doctors any knowledge at all of the matter?