HL Deb 16 October 1985 vol 467 cc565-6
Lord Hunter of Newington

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to have a Medical Advisory Board in the Ministry of Defence.

The Minister of State for Defence Support (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, the Government have no plans to reform the Armed Forces Medical Advisory Board or to recreate it under another name. Opportunities for dialogue arise from day to day, and relevant business is more effectively despatched on this basis. However, if a requirement were to arise for a machinery to consider a specific problem, I should be happy to look at that on its merits.

Lord Hunter of Newington

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. Does he realise that the medical profession believes that strong purpose-built bridges are necessary and that they have proved vital in the Department of Health and Social Security?

Lord Trefgarne

Of course, my Lords, the Ministry of Defence is not the Department of Health and Social Security. However, I recognise the important views which the noble Lord has represented to me. The matter has been considered at very considerable length, as the noble Lord will know, and I am convinced that we have arrived at the right conclusion.

Lord Shinwell

My Lords, would the noble Lord regard that as a completely satisfactory answer, in view of the reports which we have received of late about servicemen, having served the five or six years which they undertook to serve when they were recruited, no longer wishing to remain in the services? There may be some reason for that. The loss of the services of experienced men of that kind, perhaps on medical grounds, is a matter for consideration by the Ministry of Defence and by the Government.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I think the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, is referring to another question. The Question on the Order Paper relates to a consultative body which existed until recently and about which the noble Lord, Lord Hunter, is concerned.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

My Lords, will the noble Lord consult with his right honourable friend the Home Secretary with a view to setting up an advisory board to advise the civil defence organisation in the event of nuclear war?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, with respect, I think that departs a little from the Question on the Order Paper.

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