HL Deb 12 March 1987 vol 485 cc1205-6WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will comment on reports in the press that the United States Air Force has arranged to take over 40,000 British hospital beds in case of wartime need.

Lord Trefgarne

In an emergency the United Kingdom has agreed to ensure that requests for the provision of medical facilities for United States military casualties will be considered with the proviso the UK Government always have priority in using national resources. US military casualities would be treated in NHS hospitals for as short a time as possible until the United States has activated its own contingency hospitals. These hospitals, which the US is establishing in the UK, will be equipped, manned and financed by the United States Government. Although United States contingency hospitals are primarily designed for use by United States military personnel, all casualties, from any NATO country, both military and civilian would be admitted in an emergency. The use of United States contingency hospitals would be based on joint plans prepared in consultation with the UK emergency services. Details of the contingency plans are necessarily classified. Planning for the NHS in time of crisis or war does not include the designation of any specific UK hospital for exclusive use by American military casualties.