HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc397-8
57. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Health whether any definite instructions have been given by the Ministry as to the number or proportion of medical officers who should be trans- ferred from evacuation to reception areas; and whether he is, in all cases, satisfied with the medical services now functioning both in evacuation and in reception areas or what further steps he proposes to take to meet the greatly increased strain placed upon the public medical services by evacuation?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Elliot)

On the first part of the question, the hon. Member is no doubt aware that evacuating authorities have been urged to assist the authorities in reception areas by the transfer of staff where the conditions in the reception areas are such as to call for additional staff. In view of the varying circumstances in such areas it would not, I fear, be practicable for me to lay down definite figures such as the hon. Member contemplates. As regards the second part of the question, I believe that, in general, the medical services provided in evacuation areas and reception areas have done and are doing excellent work, bearing in mind the special conditions created by the emergency, but I have the matter under constant review. I shall be very willing to consider any local difficulties or deficiencies which may be brought to my notice.

Mr. Adams

Is the Minister aware that certain cases have come to my notice of difficulties in obtaining medical assistance?

Mr. Herbert Morrison

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is an untidy arrangement that this matter should be left to individual arrangements; and will he now accept responsibility for the mobilisation of the medical assistance which may be needed in the reception areas?

Mr. Elliot

It may be untidy, but there is a danger of over-planning these things and of seeking to do too much by regulation. I think the arrangement which we have at present, if properly worked, will obviate the difficulties.

Mr. W. Roberts

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in some cases in which county authorities have asked for assistance, they have not been able to get it?

Mr. Elliot

I shall be willing to consider any cases of the kind which the hon. Member may bring to my notice.