§ 2. Mr. Fernyhough
asked the Minister of Defence what stops have been taken to reduce the running costs of the 60-bed Hertford British Hospital in Paris following upon recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts.
§ Mr. Sandys
Some small reductions in staff have bean made. The size of the hospital staff is, however, governed by the range of facilities and treatment that have to be provided rather than by the number of patients to be treated. So long as the hospital is maintained in its present form, I see no prospect of appreciably reducing costs. I am, therefore, examining the practicability of finding some less expensive method of providing medical treatment for British Service personnel in the Paris area.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
I would be the last person in the world to grudge any funds going to the sick, but does not the right hon. Gentleman think that a cost of £60 per bed per week is really excessive? Could we not make some reciprocal arrangements with the French so that any British personnel who are really ill can be given the best facilities available in French hospitals? I am quite sure that that could be done much more cheaply than on the present basis.
§ Mr. Sandys
That is precisely what I am examining at the moment. The present arrangements are undoubtedly hopelessly uneconomic.