HC Deb 13 April 1926 vol 194 cc28-9W

asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the total cost of the headquarters medical organisation of the Royal Air Force; and whether he is taking steps to prevent overlapping between the Royal Air Force medical services and the medical services of the Navy arid Army?


The answer to the first part of the question is £13,026, including clerical staff. As regards the second part, the fullest use is made wherever possible of naval and military hospitals for Air Force patients. There are only three separate Air Force hospitals in this country, and of these two are situated at stations at which large numbers of Air Force personnel are concentrated, but which are remote from any hospitals administered by the other Services; the third is a small hospital with only 25 beds, primarily intended for officers suffering from flying disabilities. Conversely the existence of Air Force hospitals in Iraq and Palestine eliminates the need for maintaining British or Indian Army hospitals for the Imperial and local ground forces in those countries.

To illustrate the extent to which effective co-ordination has been carried, I may say that during 1925 the admissions of personnel (including families) of the Royal Air Force to naval and military hospitals numbered 3,227, whilst during the same period there were upwards of 3,000 admissions of personnel of the Navy, the British and Indian Armies and local forces in Iraq and Palestine to Air Force hospitals.

The possibility of further co-ordination as between the Air Force medical service and the medical services of the Navy and Army (as well as the Ministry of Pensions) is kept continually under review by a joint medical services committee set up in accordance with the recommendations made by the Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen and announced in this House on 30th May, 1923. This joint committee advises in regard to:—

  1. (1) Important questions of medical policy, such as the construction of new hospitals.
  2. (2) Provision of facilities for common training.
  3. (3) Specifications for the Supply of medical stores and appliances.
  4. (4) The use of Navy, Army, and Air Force hospitals for the accommodation of disabled pensioners,
  5. (5) All matters in respect of which economies might be effected by co-operation of the four Departments.

Regular meetings have been held and the committee has been successful in securing the closest co-operation and co-ordination of medical work in the three Services.