British Forces, Medical Services.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 27th February 1940.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Joseph Leech Sir Joseph Leech , Newcastle upon Tyne West

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will move to appoint a Committee of this House to investigate complaints of carelessness and inefficiency on the part of the Army Medical Service officials, with allegations of neglect of the sick and the avoidable spreading of pneumonia, arising from a policy of hardening the troops;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the complaints and criticisms from authorities representing the civilian medical profession, about the suitability or adequacy of the Government's medical services provided to home units under the War Office, the Air Ministry and the Women's Auxiliary Forces; and will he obtain and issue a report on the professional non-official criticisms of the staffing and arrangements for medical and surgical treatment of the sick under the control of Government Departments, with a view to meeting these criticisms?

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Edgbaston

While it is true that the sudden increase in the size of the Forces, their wide distribution, and necessary movements have caused difficulties in regard to medical arrangements, and these difficulties have been accentuated by the recent influenza epidemic, the Departments concerned are doing their utmost to remedy any deficiencies. All complaints and criticisms which have been received have been promptly and carefully investigated, though many have been found to be inaccurate and exaggerated. I do not think, therefore, that investigation by a. Committee of this House, or any special report, is required, and I would add that the suggestion that the health of the troops has been allowed to suffer through a policy of hardening them cannot be too strongly repudiated.