Venereal Diseases

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons on 13th April 1943.

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Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Service men and women receiving treatment for venereal diseases, in Service hospitals, are made to pay hospital charges, whereas the Ministry of Health insist on free treatment for civilians; and whether he will consider removing this discrimination?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

If a soldier needs hospital treatment for sickness due to his own fault, he is required to make a contribution of 1s. 6d. a day towards the cost of his treatment. As at present advised I am not convinced that the change suggested by my hon. Friend is desirable.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the dissatisfaction caused by this rule and that certainly the rule does not discourage the spread of the disease?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

The second part of the question is an assertion which I am not prepared to accept. I am keeping in touch with other quarters where the opposite rule is in force, and I shall benefit from their experience if my opinion is wrong and that of the hon. Member is right.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

Is not Treasury opposition the real reason why the change is not made?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Not in the slightest.

Photo of Mr John Dugdale Mr John Dugdale , West Bromwich

Is it not a fact that as such men also lose their proficiency pay it discourages them from notifying the disease?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Proficiency pay is paid to secure that the soldier shall be proficient, and if in any way he makes himself less proficient, he will have to suffer for his own action.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Does not this encourage the men to conceal the disease instead of going for treatment?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

There is no evidence of that.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

There is no evidence to the contrary.

Mr. Beaumont:

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make inquiries as to the adequacy of the instructions being given to men in the Army on the subject of venereal disease; whether he is aware that there is still a general lack of knowledge on this matter in the Forces; whether any additional action was taken following upon the adoption of the Defence Regulation; and whether he will consider the desirability of showing the films dealing with this subject and issuing further literature by the British Council for Social Hygiene to the troops?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

All officers in medical charge of units have been instructed to give periodical lectures to troops on the subject of venereal disease. Education of any kind is a slow process, but I am satisfied with the progress being made. Notice Board Information No. 28 explained the purpose of Defence Regulation 33B and the action soldiers should take as a result of it. The possibility of issuing films and literature on this subject has not been overlooked, but it is not thought that any at present available would prove effective.