HC Deb 08 December 1943 vol 395 cc990-1W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consult the medical committees of the London general hospitals as to steps to be taken to meet the most recent requirement of doctors to join the Services, thus reducing the hospital staffs to a proportion which does not provide civilian patients with proper medical treatment; and, in view of the fact that there is now an average of only one doctor to every 3,000 civilians, what is the proportions of doctors to men in the Services?

Mr. Willink

My medical officers will be prepared, as always, to consult with, and so far as possible advise, any hospital which is in special difficulty with regard to medical staff. I would point out, however, that the decision to accelerate the recruitment of a certain number of recently qualified doctors holding house appointments in hospitals affects far less than half the total of doctors holding such appointments, although in individual hospitals the proportion may be as high as one-half of the house officers. The house officers are, of course, only a proportion of the medical staff of a hospital and I am advised that the recruitment referred to should not result in depriving civilian patients of essential treatment. Special arrangements are being made whereby the doctors will not be required to take up duty with the Forces for a few weeks. I am glad to say that, in addition, the Service Departments are prepared, on the request of my officers, to make the services of their medical officers available as far as possible to hospitals in urgent need of such assistance. With regard to the second part of the Question, the average number of civilians per general practitioner is rather less than 3,000 over the country as a whole. For the corresponding information as to the Services I must refer my hon. Friend to the Ministers concerned.