HC Deb 27 February 1940 vol 357 cc1892-3
80. Dr. Howitt

asked the Secretary of State for War how many psychological specialists were called up in December, 1939, and how many of them have been engaged in doing psychological work since they have been called up?

Mr. Stanley

Nine officers were commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps during December, 1939, for employment in psychiatric work. One is employed in special work, and the remainder are doing general duty until their services are required in a special capacity.

Dr. Howitt

Will the Minister make an inquiry into the whole of this matter to see how essential it is that more specialists in neurosis should be appointed in all parts of this country? In the last war 10 out of every 1,000 of the troops abroad were victims of neurosis and three out of every 1,000 in this country. Does he not think that there should be more specialists in this country?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Gentleman asked me how many had been called up in the month of December. A number of specialists in this class of case have been called up but, the fighting not having started, the cases are not as numerous as they were in the last war or as might have been anticipated, and many of these men at the moment are being employed in general work.

Mr. Boyce

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that these men are not lost, as many of our most distinguished specialists were in the last war, in doing general services?

Mr. Stanley

They are being called up for this purpose, but fortunately owing to there having been no fighting on the Western Front the cases of neurosis are few. Naturally, their services are used for general purposes as there are only a few at present suffering from neurosis.