§ EARL STANHOPE rose to ask the Under Secretary of State for War what are the present rates of retired pay of members of the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service, and the conditions under which retired pay is granted; and whether these rates and conditions are to be amended
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, as I understand it, these rates of pay are laid down in the pay warrant, and the effect of them is as follows: a lady who retires from the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service is entitled to 30 per cent. of her pay on such retirement after ten years service, rising by 2 per cent. Per 943 annum to a maximum of 70 per cent. After twenty years a sister only gets £32 10s., with a maximum of £45 10s., which varies between 12s. 6d. and 17s. 6d. per week. A staff nurse gets £22 10s. rising to a maximum of £31 10s., which varies between 8s. 8d. and 12s. 1d. per week. I do not think many ladies will continue for twenty years in the service and remain staff nurse; owing to sickness, which may arise from service in tropical climates, many ladies may, however, retire as staff nurses, and their rate of pay is even lower titan that which I have mentioned. We recognise the financal stress of the country, but I am sure that every one of your Lordships, and notably the noble Viscount, would be very far from wishing to save money by leaving these rates of pay as they are at present. I am confident that your Lordships will all agree that the rates which I have mentioned are nothing better than a starvation wage. I think that I am right in saying that these rates are under consideration. I ask my Question to find out if that is corn et, and in the hope that the noble Viscount will do his best to hasten a decision on this point, so that these ladies who have deserved so well of the State may be paid a pension which is something better than the starvation rate that they are given at present.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
My noble friend has stated correctly the method on which pension is calculated for these nurses at the present time, but he did not state the maximum that they could get.
§ VISCOUNT PEEL
I quite agree that they are not very sumptuous rates of pay, but all that I can say at present is that the rates are being considered by a Committee, and, as my noble friend knows, you cannot agitate Committees in consideration of these problems, but I believe that shortly decisions will be arrived at. Of course, with the rates of pay the pensions that correspond to those rates of pay are also being considered. I cannot give my noble friend any further answer at the present moment.
§ EARL STANHOPE
I am sure that if the noble Viscount would use his great influence on the Committee, the Committee would do their best to come to an early decision.