§ 17. Sir W. CHEYNE
asked the Secretary, of State for War if he has been able to make any further arrangements to relieve the medical officers, of the Royal Army Medical Corps in Mesopotamia (Special Reserve and Territorial Force) who have been there for some years; if he has satisfied himself that all these officers are required; if he is aware that at one centre, where five medical officers and five subordinates are stationed, it is stated that the medical work of each' officer during the last six months has averaged 10 minutes per day, and that' for the last seven weeks prior to the 24th January they had not received single patient; and whether, considering the great injury to their health and their future prospects resulting from their prolonged residence in Mesopotamia, he will use every endeavour to secure their transfer elsewhere?
§ Sir A. WILLIAMSON
Every endeavour continues to he made to relieve medical officers of the Special Reserve 1999 and Territorial Force serving in Mesopotamia who, on account of age, length of service in the East and personal hardship are considered by the General Officer Commanding to be eligible for release. The establishments are being reduced to the greatest possible extent, having regard to the care of the sick and the protection of the garrison; and Regular Royal Army Medical Corps officers are being sent out as far as the available resources and the heavy demands to be met elsewhere permit.
I am not aware of the particular cases mentioned, but if details are supplied I will obtain a full report. At the same time, however, I would point out that in Mesopotamia and Persia isolated bodies of troops are stationed, and these require to be provided with medical personnel, as the distances preclude the despatch of medical officers at short notice should their services at any time be urgently required.
§ Captain ELLIOT
Can they not be relieved by native medical officers, who are in many cases actually being paid more than white officers who are doing the same work?
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of these young officers are desirous of returning home in order that they may continue their course in the University and medical schools?
§ Mr. R. McLAREN
Does the right hon. Gentleman not consider three hot seasons a sufficient period to be there from a medical point of view, and could he not at once substitute Regular medical men for these officers?