§ 38. Mr. D. Jones
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the ratio of persons per doctor is considerably higher in the Island of Dominica than any other part of the Colonial Territories; whether he is aware that modes of communication in this island are very bad, adding to the difficulties of doctors seeking to get from one part of the island to another; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of doctors on this island.
§ Mr. Profumo
The number of doctors in Dominica in relation to population compares favourably with the position in the Colonial Territories generally. I know of the difficulties of communications; a very large road building programme is under way as part of the current development plan. Any question of an increase in the number of Government doctors is for consideration, in the first instance, by the Government of Dominica in the light of other competing demands and of the resources available.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that in a communication which he sent me on 2nd May he revealed that there are three times as many persons per doctor in this island as there are in the United Kingdom; that there are twice as many per doctor in this island as there are in Jamaica; twice as many as in Trinidad, twice as many as in British Guiana, and that, in fact, the mode of transport in this island is worse than in any other island in the West Indies. Is he now saying that he proposes to do nothing at all, except to leave it to the local Government to provide additional doctors?
§ Mr. Profumo
I said no more than I told the hon. Gentleman in my Answer, but I would add that, bearing in mind the fact that Dominica is poor, the comparison is not bad, and that in Dominica all doctors are provided by the Government. There are no private practitioners.