HC Deb 04 December 1916 vol 88 cc671-2W

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the case of a patient in Dunfermline Hospital having died whilst under an anaesthetic administered by an under-nurse, owing to the scarcity of medical men; whether, in view of this shortage and the small number of medical students, he is prepared to authorise medical students to be placed in a certified occupation so long as they continue their studies, seeing that it takes a medical student at least five years to qualify as a doctor; and will he say what arrangements the Local Government Board is taking to protect the public health and to meet the deficiency of doctors in the next few years?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the remaining parts of the question, I may say that my Department has been in frequent consultation with the naval and military authorities with a view to securing that the needs of the civil population shall be met as far as practicable, having regard to the needs of the Forces. The present arrangements made by the Army Council as to medical students are as follows: Fourth and fifth year students are not being called up for ordinary military service. First, second, and third year students are being called up if fit for general service. If not fit for general service they are being allowed to continue their studies. All students allowed to continue their studies are, as a condition, required to join an Officers' Training Corps and attend a minimum number of parades. In practice, few first year students are called up as they are mostly under nineteen, and come under a general rule postponing until that age the call of students, medical and other, belonging to an Officers' Training Corps. The men called up mostly obtain commissions. First, second, and third year men previously called but not fit for general service were, under an Army Council Instruction issued in August, relegated to the Army Reserve to return to their studies subject to the condition above referred to.