HC Deb 12 June 1945 vol 411 cc1441-2
16. Mr. Seaborne Davies

asked the Secretary of State for War what proportion the number of doctors bears to the total number of men in the B.L.A.

Sir J. Griģģ

The ratio of medical officers of the R.A.M.C. to Army personnel, male and female, in S.H.A.E.F. and 21 Army Group is about 1 to 382. The responsibilities of the R.A.M.C. include, however, considerable assistance to the other Services and to Allied Forces and to displaced persons. The degree of assistance given by the R.A.M.C. in connection with these extraneous commitments, and the volume of the latter fluctuate so greatly that any exact ratio of doctors to patients or potential patients of all categories is impossible to assess. The best that I can give is that there are something of the order of 1,400 people of various categories who have to rely on each member of the R.A.M.C. for health services.

Mr. Seaborne Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a widespread feeling in the Royal Army Medical Corps that the proportion is too high and that many of them might well be released to come home to help their hard pressed colleagues at home?

Sir J. Griģģ

That is as may be, but I would not be quite certain that in some cases that feeling is not connected with the desire to get home. What I am clear about is that certainly in theatres of war where active operations are still going on the supply of doctors is not too high but too low.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in some billeting areas the proportion is one doctor to 4,000 of the population?

Sir J. Griģģ

The average over the country is certainly much less than that.

Dr. Edith Summer skill

Is the Minister aware that under the National Health Insurance Act one civilian doctor is allowed for 2,500 patients?

Sir J. Griģģ

I thought the number was 3,000, but I am prepared to take the figure from the hon. Lady.

Commander Locker-Lampson

The fewer the doctors the healthier the population.