HC Deb 06 May 1970 vol 801 cc397-8
19. Captain W. Elliot

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of Her Majesty's Government have been admitted for treatment to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital at Millbank since October, 1964.

Mr. Hattersley

According to my inquiries, three.

Captain Elliot

Would not the Minister agree that the use of this facility by members of the Government enables them to jump the general hospital queue? While I appreciate that members of the Government may need medical treatment, and may need it early, will the hon. Gentleman at least tell his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services to stop his hypocritical lectures about queue jumping to the private citizen who takes out a health insurance policy?

Mr. Hattersley

I assumed that that was the point that the hon. and gallant Member strove to make. This Service hospital, like other Service hospitals, has, as a normal part of its business, an arrangement with the Health Service so that it takes in patients who are non-Service if the situation allows. On the occasion to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman refers there was no degree of priority in the sense he means. The priority that existed was one which enabled all three—my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friends—to carry on doing their Government work. This resulted in the Secretary of State himself carrying out Government business very shortly after a serious operation, which is something for which he should be praised rather than blamed.

Mr. Snow

Was not that a rather mean little Question?