HC Deb 18 February 1920 vol 125 cc908-9W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to complaints alleged to have been made by patients in Army mental hospitals regarding their treatment in such hospitals; whether such complaints have been investigated, if so, with what result; whether and, i£ so, in what respects the system of treament in Army mental hospitals has differed from the system of treatment generally adopted in mental hospitals under public control; whether he is satisfied with the results yielded by the present system of treatment; and whether he is prepared to order an inquiry into the allegations made directly against the officials of the Army mental hospitals and indirectly against the Army medical department?


My atention has been called to the alleged complaints. Strict orders were issued by the Director-General, Army Medical Service, that every complaint, however made of whatever nature, should be immediately enquired into. These orders, I believe, have been strictly observed, and such action as enquiry justified has invariably been taken. In no case has it been found that there was ground for serious complaint, and the suggestions of careless treatment and of deliberate ill-treatment in these hospitals are unjustified. The utmost care has been taken in the treatment of soldiers suffering from early mental disorders, and the system of treatment followed, which was adopted after consultation with the most expert authorities on the subject, has been acknowledged by those best qualified to judge to be in some respects an improvement on the system generally adopted in civil mental hospitals. The results have been highly satisfactory, as is evidenced by the higher recovery rate and lower death rate as compared with civil institutions of similar type. I am satisfied that the general allegations made against the officials of the Army mental hospitals and the Army Medical Service are entirely unjustified, and I see no occasion for ordering an enquiry of the nature suggested.