HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc250-1W
Colonel Baldwin-Webb

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order that local authorities, manufacturers, and others may be informed, he will now state the conditions under which trailer ambulances may be authorised; and is he aware that in the interests of economy and efficiency such ambulances are used in Germany?

Mr. Elliot

The conditions under which I am prepared to consider authorising trailer ambulances were stated in a circular sent to local authorities on 20th October, 1939, a copy of which I will send to my hon. and gallant Friend. With regard to the second part of the Question, I am only concerned with the ambulance service as designed to meet civil defence requirements in this country: and I am satisfied that, in general, trailers are not to be preferred to self-contained ambulances on grounds of either economy or efficiency.

Mr. Woodburn

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the impossibility of voluntary hospitals being able to maintain and extend their services in such a way as to meet the urgent needs of the sick and injured, he is, in view of the national emergency, prepared to organise the whole hospital system on a sound economic basis, co-ordinated and planned to meet the needs of the population?

Mr. Elliot

As I stated in the course of the Debate on the Address on 5th December last, the problems of the coordination of the hospital system as a whole, including the proper relation of the voluntary hospitals to the municipal hospitals, are matters requiring our closest attention. A very large measure of cooperation from all sections for the purposes of the emergency medical service is necessary and has in fact by the good will of all concerned been secured, but I do not think it is practicable in present circumstances to embark upon far-reaching changes such as those suggested.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that eight Green Line coaches have been standing in the public highway opposite Tottenham town hall, night and day continuously since 1st September, 1939; and whether it is intended that these coaches will remain in the public highway for the duration of the war?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware that certain Green Line coaches serving as emergency ambulances are stationed outside Tottenham Town Hall, by arrangement between the London Passenger Transport Board and the police. I am informed that it is not practicable to station these coaches at a garage in view of the fact that they must be kept with tanks constantly full, and the present arrangements may need to continue so long as the vehicles are required as war-time ambulances. The number of Green Line coaches taken over as ambulances at the outbreak of war has already been reduced by about 150.

Forward to