HC Deb 26 April 1955 vol 540 c763
54. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement regarding revised arrangements for keeping the nearest relatives of soldiers in hospital informed about their condition.

Mr. Head

When a soldier is admitted to hospital as a battle casualty or suffering from an injury resulting in the loss of an eye or limb or is dangerously ill or seriously ill, the next-of-kin is automatically informed. In cases of serious mental illness a letter is sent to the next-of-kin, but otherwise it is left to the man himself to decide who should be notified. He is given a free postcard with which to inform them and help in completing postcards when necessary is always available.

Mr. Brockway

In view of the circumstances in the two cases which I raised during the Army Estimates debates, will the right hon. Gentleman go into this matter a little further in order to see that when men are ill in hospital someone should volunteer in the ward to write letters to their relatives if they so desire?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir. There are means whereby somebody can write a letter, but to make it statutory for the Army to inform the parents would not be right, nor in all cases would it be popular with the men concerned.