Medical Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons on 20th October 1942.

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

asked the Minister of Health the approximate number of medical men engaged in Emergency Medical Service hospitals, or in other capacities, who are not at present fully employed?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

My right hon. Friend has no statistics giving the information for which my hon. and gallant Friend asks, but in view of the pressure upon all branches of the medical profession, the number must be relatively small.

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

Is it not a fact that a certain number of these officers are engaged on a part-time basis?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

Some of them are, but my hon. and gallant Friend will realise that the amount of work varies considerably even from day to day.

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

Will my hon. Friend say how many are engaged on a part-time basis?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

Certainly, if my hon. and gallant Friend will put down a Question.

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

That is the Question on the Paper.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

The Question asked was the approximate number engaged who are not at present fully employed. That is a different thing. If my hon. and gallant Friend wants the number engaged on a part-time basis, that can be got.

Photo of Dr Leslie Haden-Guest Dr Leslie Haden-Guest , Islington North

Is my hon. Friend aware that the number of medical men engaged on a part-time basis is very considerable, and should not the figures be given to the House?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

Yes, Sir; and if my hon. and gallant Friend puts down a Question, the figures can be given.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

Is my hon. Friend aware that the House is frequently told that there is a shortage of medical skill in this country, and yet the doctors in the Emergency Medical Service frequently complain that they are under-employed?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

In some cases the staff at a certain hospital may be under-employed during a certain period, but suddenly they may be what one may call over-employed.

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

asked the Minister of Health whether he can, if required, provide or make available a maximum of 50 medical men for the staffing of pensions appeal tribunals, either permanently or on the understanding that they can be released on short notice if urgently required for other purposes?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

My right hon. Friend is advised that the pressure on the services of medical men is so severe at the present time that it would be difficult to supply those suitably qualified for this work in the numbers indicated by my hon. and gallant Friend. It must be remembered that any new obligation imposed upon the medical profession in war conditions would prejudicially affect other services.

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

May we take it that though it is difficult, it is not impossible?

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Is proper attention being given to the possibility of employing men who are discharged from high positions in different Services, who are men of great experience and could be used for this kind of work?

Dr. Guest:

Are not a certain number of medical men in the Services retired on account of age or on account of having held high rank for a certain period, and are there not enough of these people fully to fill all the requirements of pension appeal tribunal purposes? Will the hon. Lady take it from me that I know positively of and that I can give her a list of people who would fill all these places?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

I should be delighted to have that list from the hon. Gentleman, and I hope he will send it as soon as possible.

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

Will my hon. Friend consult with the Secretary of State for War on the matter?