Overseas Service (Medical Categories)

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1949.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire 12:00 am, 12th July 1949

asked the Secretary of State for War which medical categories qualify soldiers for service at Hong Kong.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

The fitness of soldiers for service overseas is assessed under the "Pulheems" system of medical classification which has replaced the former medical categories.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Would the right hon. Gentleman kindly answer the Question? Even under his new system, there must be some kind of description which can be given and may we have that description?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

The description is all embodied in the term "Pulheems." It is rather complicated, but if the hon. Gentleman is anxious to have a full description and a complete definition of the words represented by the initials contained in the word "Pulheems," I will have it inserted in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Surely, all we want to know is how physically fit a man has to be before he goes to Hong Kong?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

In order to ascertain whether a man is physically fit, he has to undergo several tests, all of which are contained in the medical classification embodied in the term "Pulheems."

Photo of Mr Charles Byers Mr Charles Byers , Dorset Northern

Is it not true that the term "Pulheems" means that there are certain categories of the establishment? Are we to take it from the Minister that there are certain categories which mean that men can be sent to the Far East, and certain others which mean that they cannot? May we know which they are?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Perhaps, in order to satisfy the natural curiosity of hon. Members, I had better explain what the word "Pulheems" means. It starts, as is obvious, with P for physical capacity; U is for upper limbs; L for locomotion; H for hearing; EE for eyesight; M for mental capacity; and S for emotional stability. If a soldier passes this categorical test, he is sent to the Far East.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Would the problem not be solved by allowing only volunteers to go to Hong Kong?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

If the hon. Member wishes to volunteer himself. I will consider it.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what comes out at the end of this? Is it a soldier, or what?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

It is obvious what comes out at the end. There comes out at the end a person who emerges having satisfied the full medical requirements of the Army.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Will the Secretary of State ask his right hon. Friends voluntarily to undergo this test?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

This is really not a matter for me to consider, though if hon. Members generally wish to undergo this test, I will see what I can do.