Voluntary Aid Detachments.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 28th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the indignation caused by the proposed transfer of Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses to the Auxiliary Territorial Service, involving scrapping of uniforms and the transfer of trained girls who volunteered before the war from a service where they are working happily and well to another service; and on what grounds is the change being proposed?

Photo of Mr Edward Fleming Mr Edward Fleming , Manchester, Withington

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the War Office proposal to transfer Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses, serving with Army units, to the Auxiliary Territorial Service has been voluntarily accepted, or otherwise, by members of the Red Cross and St. John organisation; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to compensate the said Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses if they be compelled to scrap their own Red Cross uniforms?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I received last week a deputation representing the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. As a result I am proposing to invite these organisations to appoint representatives to a Committee to be set up under an independent Chairman. The detailed arrangements are now in hand.

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

To consider the relationship of mobile V.A.D.s to the Army.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Has a decision yet been taken on the proposed transfer?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

No final decision has yet been taken. I have made that clear throughout.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

Before any change in the status of the V.A.D.s is settled will Parliament have an opportunity of discussing the matter, in view of the general feeling of the honourable calling of nurses, both male and female, that they should have an opportunity of considering the question?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Their representatives are going to be on this Committee, and naturally when a report has been received I shall, if necessary; make a statement upon it to the House before any action is taken.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Will any Member of this House be on the Committee?

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is great public indignation about this suggestion?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I have had a good deal of correspondence on the subject, and I am fully aware of all the feelings in the matter, which are not uniformly in one direction.

Photo of Sir Noel Goldie Sir Noel Goldie , Warrington

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that no final decision will be come to until the Committee has reported?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I have been trying to give that assurance now for some time.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

Will the Minister keep in mind that we also in this House are representatives of the people concerned and that we want our point of view to be taken into account?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I think that that can best be taken into account if, as I promised, I bring it before this House before any action is taken.

Mr. De la Bère:

Why not abandon the whole idea?