§ Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that in future each fishery protection vessel patrolling in the North Sea and northern fishing grounds carries a doctor and medicines and berths sufficient to accommodate sick and injured seamen.
§ Dr. David Owen
I cannot give this assurance. In the North Sea, small coastal minesweepers are normally used for fishery protection patrol and these do not have sufficient accommodation for a doctor and sick bay. In distant waters, the frigates used normally carry a doctor but because of the shortage of doctors no garantee can be given that there will always be one on board. All H.M. ships employed in these duties will, of course, continue to give medical help and advice within their capabilities.