asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the dissatisfaction expressed by representatives of all sections of the population of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in regard to the closing of the Northumberland War Hospital, and to representations made to the War Office by the local medical committee, advocating the retention of this hospital for the treatment of medical and pensioner patients for at least six months, to prevent unnecessary suffering for civilian patients by the overcrowding of the Royal Victoria Infirmary; whether he is aware that the civil hospitals are unable to cope with any increase of work rendered inevitable by the simultaneous closing of the 1st Northern General Hospital and the Northumberland War Hospital; and whether, in view of the desirability of relief being granted at the earliest moment to the civil population, who are suffering severely through the shortage of beds, that there is no local demand for the closing of the Northumberland War Hospital, and that the visiting committee of the city council are not only willing but anxious that this hospital should be kept open, in the interests of soldiers and pensioners, until the Orthopædic Hospital now building is in working order, the War Office will reconsider their decision?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The representations made to the War Office advocating the retention of the Northumberland War Hospital were received on the 11th April. As it was owing to the very urgent request of the Board of Control authorities that the orders to close the hospital were given, the question of the possibility of retention, in view of the local medical committee's appeal, will be taken up with 2537W the Board of Control. The whole situation will be considerably eased when the Military Orthopædic Hospital, now in course of erection, is ready for occupation. This may be ready in a few months. The number of beds allotted to military patients in the Royal Victoria Infirmary has been recently reduced from 150 to 56.