HC Deb 27 June 1940 vol 362 cc610-1W
Mr. Goldie

asked the Minister of Health for what reason women members of the Voluntary Aid Detachments have been asked to join the Civil Nursing Reserve, in lieu of being called upon to serve under the conditions imposed upon them on joining Voluntary Aid Detachments?

Mr. M. MacDonald

With the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War arrangements have been made with the Voluntary Aid Detachment Council for the release from their Army obligations of a number of women members of voluntary aid detachments on the ground that they are surplus to Army requirements. These members are, therefore, at liberty to join the Civil Nursing Reserve in which their services can be fully utilised.

Mr. Goldie

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that women members of Voluntary Aid Detachments provided themselves with uniforms at an approximate cost of £10 to be repaid out of public funds upon mobilisation, and that upon transfer to the Civil Nursing Reserve, notwithstanding such expenditure, a grant of approximately 10s. only is made towards the cost of such uniforms; and will he take steps to remedy this grievance?

Mr. MacDonald

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, that an initial grant of £10 in respect of uniform allowance is admissible for voluntary aid detachment members on joining for duty with the Army. As the members referred to by my hon. Friend have been released from their Army obligations on the ground that they are surplus to requirements, the question of paying this grant no longer arises. Members of the Civil Nursing Reserve are provided, free of cost, with the uniform which they are required to wear when at work, though special arrangements have been made for members of the British Red Cross Society and the St. John Ambulance Brigade to wear their own uniforms if they wish to do so. I may also mention that I am arranging for former members of voluntary aid detachments, who have joined the Civil Nursing Reserve after long experience, to be paid at a higher rate than the normal rate for nursing auxiliaries in the reserve.