HC Deb 13 March 1945 vol 409 cc14-6
34. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a district in Sussex, of which he has been informed, with a scattered population of some 3,000, will be left without adequate medical attention if the sole local practitioner is again called to military service, that the recommendation in September, 1944, by the Central Medical War Committee for release has not been withdrawn by them; and will he now permit this doctor to continue his civil duties.

Sir J. Griģģ

This doctor was granted three months' release during the winter, and I am advised that the Central Medical War Committee have twice considered representations for an extension of this period of release, but have not seen fit to make any further recommendation to the War Office. I understand the district referred to is part of the borough of Brighton, where there are, at present, relatively more doctors than in many parts of the country. In view of the very great need for doctors in the Army, I regret that this one cannot be allowed to return to his civil duties.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

May I ask my right hon. Friend—I did not quite hear his answer—whether he is or is not going to release this medical officer?

Sir J. Griģģ

I am afraid that my hon. and gallant Friend's question is a great testimonial to my normal and shorter method of answering. The answer is "No."

Colonel Clarke

Will my right hon. Friend consider whether some of the trained R.A.M.C. officers who do administrative work in field ambulances and hospitals could be exchanged for others who could do it for them, so that more doctors could be released?

Sir J. Griģģ

It the hon. and gallant Member means that we should try to substitute on the administrative side of the R.A.M.C. non-medical officers for medical officers, I can assure him that we do that as much as possible, but it cannot be done altogether.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Will the Minister bear in mind that he may be violating the legal provisions of the National Health Insurance Act by not leaving a sufficient number of doctors in certain localities?

Sir J. Griģģ

I confess that that is one of the things which I could not answer off-hand.