HC Deb 19 April 1955 vol 540 c19
32. Mr. Hastings

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on occasions non-commissioned officers refuse to allow men in their charge to apply to a medical officer for examination or treatment; and what right of appeal the men have against such refusals.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Fitzroy Maclean)

I am satisfied that, in general, no obstacle is put in the way of men wishing to report sick. If the hon. Member will let me have details of any case where permission was refused, I will gladly look into it. As to the second part of his Question, every soldier has a statutory right by Section 43 of the Army Act to make a complaint to his platoon or company commander in such a case.

Mr. Hastings

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of how difficult it is to get authenticated information from private soldiers on matters such as this? Will he agree that it is most important that the decision whether a man should receive medical advice or not should not be left in the control of an N.C.O.?

Mr. Maclean

I agree that it is very important that a man should be able to get advice, but as I have explained, every possible step is taken to ensure that he should be able to get advice. As I have said, if the hon. Member will let me have details of any case where it is not so, I will certainly look into it.