HC Deb 12 February 1942 vol 377 cc1561-2
4. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is issuing any special instructions to the medical boards to guide them in the classification of men in the 40 to 50 age group for military service; and the nature of the instructions?

Mr. Bevin

Such men are not at present being called up, and when they are, they will be posted only to static and sedentary duties. The existing classification is made on medical grounds, and, while I think it unlikely that any modification need be made in the present medical code in order to enable men over 40 to be properly posted, I am in touch with my Medical Advisory Committee on the whole subject.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Does not X-ray examination of recruits eliminate people who are unfit for service but are not ordinarily discovered, as such, by the recruiting boards?

Mr. Bevin

I have been pursuing that subject, but, as I have explained before, it is really a question of equipment.

Sir F. Fremantle

Is it not the case that that equipment is now coming forward in considerable quantity and can be supplied?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will my right hon. Friend, in consulting with his medical officers, bear in mind that a fairly large percentage of recruits are unfit because of industrial diseases or industrial accidents?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, Sir; it will be borne in mind. The medical examination that is being carried out at present reveals a lot of what might be called preventable ill ness, that is, illness which might be pre vented by slight changes in the designing of machinery and the form of occupations.