§ Commander Maitland
asked the Minister of Defence what is the youngest age at which men are required to act as mental attendants in Service hospitals; whether the terms of service are the same in all three Services, whether such service is carried out by volunteers and whether National Service men are employed on this duty.
§ Mr. Alexander
The practice is broadly the same in all three Services. While no lower age limit for employment as a mental attendant is laid down, the necessary training cannot in practice be completed before the age of 18½ or 19. Mental nursing in Service hospitals is normally carried out by men who have volunteered (and have been selected as suitable) for the work; in the Royal Air Force only regulars are eligible for such 203W training, but in the Royal Navy and the Army National Service men also may volunteer. If enough volunteers are not available, however, it may sometimes be necessary to detail nursing orderlies or Sick Berth ratings to nurse a mental case.