HC Deb 30 November 1955 vol 546 cc2284-5
12. Colonel Stoddart-Scott

asked the Minister of Defence if, in order to save public money and manpower, he will consider taking under one authority the Naval, Army and Royal Air Force hospitals at home and overseas.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Service hospitals form part of the medical services, which—as I explained to my hon. and gallant Friend on 16th November—have been under examination by Lord Waverley's Committee. I have nothing at present to add to that reply.

Mr. Shinwell

Is not this too bad? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when I was Minister of Defence I made a beginning with co-ordination of the hospital and other services, and could we not save a great deal in manpower and finance if we had co-ordination? Why should there be any differentiation in respect of hospital services between the three Service Departments?

Mr. Lloyd

I am a little surprised at the supplementary question, because the amalgamation of the medical services of the Armed Forces was rejected by his Government in 1948, and we set up the Committee under Lord Waverley, whose Report has to be examined before we take further steps.

Mr. Bellenger

Is not my right hon. Friend referring to the point in this Question put by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite about hospitals at home and overseas, that is to say, the general hospitals, not the field hospitals, and cannot the Minister do something more to amalgamate those?

Mr. Lloyd

They form part of the medical services, and Lord Waverley's Committee has looked into the medical services as a whole. Until that Report has been examined and digested, it is premature for me to make any statement.

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