Mr. SHIRLEY BENN
asked the Prime Minister by whose authority the Central Medical War Committee, which is now occupied in recruiting doctors to the Royal Army Medical Corps, was chosen; by whom were its powers defined; what are those powers; and by whose nomination have its members been selected?
§ Mr. TENNANT
The Committee referred to in the question was, I am informed, appointed, and its terms of reference settled, by the British Medical Association at its annual representative meeting in July last; it was not confined to members of that association, and the Committee co-opted five additional members representative of universities and colleges and of other medical bodies. One of the members of the Committee, being a member of the War Office Medical Advisory Board, was named by the Director-General to represent the Army Medical Service on the Committee. The terms of reference are as follows:—To organise the medical profession in England, Wales and Ireland in such a way as will enable the Government to use every medical practitioner fit to serve the country in such a manner as to turn his qualifications to the best possible use; to deal with all matters affecting the medical profession arising in connection with the War; and to report to the Council (of the British Medical Association).After a conference at the War Office with the Director-General of the Army Medical Service, the Committee was informed on 9th August, 1915 (in a letter which has been published), that the Director-General hoped to receive from the Committee much help in his work of providing officers for the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was glad to recognise the Committee as a medium for dealing with the great problem which faced the medical profession, namely, how to supply medical officers for the Forces and at the same time to protect the needs of the civil population; and the Committee was accordingly authorised to make appeals to the profession with the object of securing these needs.
A further conference took place at the War Office with the Director-General of Recruiting on 5th November last on the same subject, and to the same effect. As 1612W a result of these conferences, this Committee, which has local committees in all parts of the country, has been endeavouring to procure and to co-ordinate offers from members of the medical profession of service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Applications for such commissions are decided upon by the War Office after they have been referred to this Committee for consideration in relation to the medical needs of the civil population in the area concerned in each case, and after consultation with the Insurance Commission and (where necessary) with the Local Government Board and the Board of Education. Analogous arrangements exist in regard to Scotland.
I should add that the War Office have received and are receiving very valuable assistance from these committees.
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government has sanctioned the recruiting, through the agency of the Central War Committee, of medical men up to the age of forty-five, the limit of age for the rest of the nation being forty-one?
§ Mr. TENNANT
The age limit referred to in the question relates to medical men applying for commissions in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and not to recruits for the combatant services, in which the age limit of forty-one applies.