HC Deb 29 June 1960 vol 625 cc1382-3
36. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Labour why the National Service Medical Board twice graded William Patrick Joseph King, of Banbury, as fit for service; whether his Department's principal medical advisers agreed that he was fit for service; and why he was discharged from the Royal Air Force the day after enlistment.

Mr. Heath

On both occasions the National Service medical board considered Mr. King to be above the minimum standard of fitness required for service with the Armed Forces and its conclusions were endorsed by my Chief Medical Adviser. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by the Under-Secretary of State for Air on 26th May.

Mr. Marten

As the reply given by the Air Ministry was that this man was unfit, would the right hon. Gentleman agree that this sort of thing is rather a waste of time and of money? Would the Minister look into this sort of procedure to see whether this situation can be avoided, where there is any doubt about a man's fitness for service, by arranging for the man to be examined by the Service concerned before he is called up?

Mr. Heath

I am naturaly most anxious to avoid any cases of this kind. I think the House will agree that, considering the number of National Service men who have passed through medical boards, the number of instances of this kind is comparatively small.

The standards by which these men are judged were agreed between the medical adviser to the Ministry of Labour and the medical advisers to the Services in 1950 and they have operated satisfactorily during the last ten years. In fact, what the Under-Secretary of State for Air said was that this gentleman was unlikely to be suitable for Air Force service. He did not say that he was medically unfit.