HC Deb 14 March 1946 vol 420 cc1276-7
41 and 42 Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he will give an assurance that the present quota of new recruits to the R.A.F. medical branch is adequate;

(2) what are the quotas of new medical officers originally decided upon for each of the three Services for the first half of 1946; and what adjustment is to be made in view of the disparity in the release rates of general duty medical officers.

Mr. Bevan

The provisional quotas for the first half-year, 1946, are: Navy 60, Army 280, and R.A.F. no. The question of adjusting the quotas, including in particular the adequacy of the intake to the R.A.F., is at present being considered by the Government. These quotas apply to young practitioners up to the age of 30. In addition, the recruitment of specialists is continuing up to age 40 to provide substitutes for specialists in H.M. Forces who cannot be released without replacement.

Mr. Allighan

Is the Minister aware that the figures he has given show a disparity to the disadvantage of the men who are entering the R.A.F., and that, as a result of demobilisation, R.A.F. medical officers are being held up because the intake is so small?

Mr. Bevan

There will always be that disparity, because the whole purpose is to provide substitutes for the men who are entitled to be demobilised. As the number of men vary in each Service, the replacements will also vary, and therefore there will always appear to be injustices.

Squadron-Leader Segal

Will the Minister urge his Service colleagues to see that there is a more even allocation of duties for medical officers, and to ensure that there is more active working co-operation between the medical branches of all three Services?

Mr. Bevan

I am afraid that that suggestion lies entirely outside my province. In addition to my other anxieties, I am not going to allocate duties for medical officers in the Services.