HC Deb 25 October 1939 vol 352 cc1436-8W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Health what schemes of emergency medical service for the members of visiting staffs of voluntary hospitals in London are now official and open for acceptance by those members; and whether he will take measures to encourage the return of visiting staffs to London, and the opening of the beds in hospitals for civilian cases, with a view to restoring some adequate instruction for medical students for whose education the London teaching hospitals are chiefly responsible?

Mr. Elliot

Subsequent to the enrolment of whole-time officers in the Emergency Medical Service two modifications were introduced, one enabling these officers to go on indefinite leave without pay until the occurrence of casualties made it necessary to recall them to duty, and the other, which was recommended by a committee of representative consultants, enabling these officers to transfer from whole-time to part-time service.

The second offer was made by letter to individual whole-time officers in the Emergency Medical Service, and officers proposing to accept the offer were asked to do so within a week. I am, however, willing for the present to continue to keep the offer open to those officers who have not yet replied.

I am also in consultation with the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and others on a number of points arising out of our experience of war conditions so far, and I understand that I may receive shortly further proposals from a representative committee of the profession which is now sitting, which I will consider in connection with the points raised by the hon. Member.

Furthermore, as I have already informed him by letter, I should have no objection to a further arrangement under which certain senior men of the standing of Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians not already in the Service who are willing to give a substantial proportion of their time if a major emergency arose but are desirous, in present circumstances, of remaining without obligation and without remuneration, would so inform me.

As the hon. Member will be aware, it has been made clear to hospitals by broadcast announcements and otherwise that civilian cases requiring in-patient treatment should be admitted, and I have at all times been anxious, in consultation with the profession, to adopt such measures for making the necessary medical staff available as are consistent with due provision for the treatment of air-raid casualties.

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