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Navy—Assistant Surgeons

Volume 217: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1873

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether at present Assistant Surgeons in the Royal Navy, even when not serving on Foreign stations, are denied the privilege known to be generally accorded to Assistant Surgeons in the Army and to Officers generally, of voluntarily retiring from the service whether there is any limit of time to the refusal of the Admiralty to permit such Naval Medical Officers to retire, or whether they are liable to be forced to remain in the service for any number of years at the pleasure of the Admiralty; and, whether there are not at present Navy Medical Officers on the half-pay list whose services could be had to supply the places of Assistant Surgeons desiring to retire but refused permission?

said, in reply, that the first question was one of law. The Admiralty had full power to retain the services of medical officers, and that right had always been exercised with a certain amount of discretion. Retirement had been refused to three surgeons who had gone through a course of instruction for 18 months, because their services were required on foreign stations. He thought when a young man had gone through a course of instruction at Netley Hospital at the public expense, he should not be permitted to retire until he had rendered a corresponding amount of service to the public. On the other hand, applications to retire had been acceded to because in one case the applicant was an invalid, and in the other long and good service entitled him to ask for retirement.