HC Deb 31 May 1945 vol 411 cc348-9
39. Dr. Haden Guest

asked the Minister of Health the number of medical men and women who have been enlisted into the medical services of the Navy, Army and Air Force, respectively, from the beginning of the war in 1939 to the latest convenient date.

Mr. Willink

The numbers of medical men and women recruited from Great Britain and Northern Ireland into the medical branches of the Services up to 24th May last are 2,405 in the Royal Navy, 12,200 in the Army and 2,564 in the Royal Air Force, making a total of 17,169. The figure for the Army includes a number recruited for work with the Indian Medical Service.

Dr. Haden Guest

What proportion do the doctors recruited into the Fighting Services bear to the total number of active medical practitioners on the register?

Mr. Willink

Perhaps it would be helpful to give the answer under two categories. The proportion of the total number recruited to the total on the register is 27.5 per cent. The proportion or the number recruited to the total number of active practitioners is 31.3 per cent. The proportion of general practitioners in the Services is 21.4 per cent.

Professor Savory

Is the Minister able to give separate figures for Northern Ireland?

Mr. Willink

No, Sir, not without notice.

40. Dr. Haden Guest

asked the Minister of Health the number of medical men and women who are expected to be demobilised in the first six months after 18th June; and whether this number of doctors will be enough to provide for the needs of the civil population.

Mr. Willink

I am not yet able to give the number asked for by the hon. Member. It depends on various factors, including the decision of the Service Departments as to whether an officer's retention is necessary on military grounds.

Mr. Bellenger

Has the Ministry of Health specially asked for the demobilisation of medical officers by special process?

Mr. Willink

I could not answer that question adequately without notice.

Dr. Haden Guest

Is it the fact that general duty medical officers, that is, apart from specialists, are to be demobilised according to the formula age-length of service and do the Class B releases apply only to specialists and special categories?

Mr. Willink

I feel that my hon. Friend is rather going outside his Question. Perhaps he will give me notice of that point.

Mr. Palmer

Are any civilian doctors to be called up?

Mr. Willink

I should not like to give a reply on that point but it may very well be that it will be right and just that those who have not been out should take their turn.

Lieut.-Colonel Henry Guest

Is it not the case that many of these hospitals are understaffed?

Mr. Speaker

That is another point.