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Medical Examination And Documentation

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Defence what steps he is taking to bring the medical examination and documentation of all ranks of the British Forces, especially in regard to pulmonary and dental X-ray, into line with modern practice in the United States and late German Armed Forces.

I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that up-to-date methods are already used in all three Services.

Following are the details:

Medical examinations in the Naval Forces include miniature radiography of the chest when a person is entered, or as soon as practicable afterwards, and thenceforth periodically so far as staff and equipment allow. A "follow-up" system includes full-scale films and special observation treatment in hospital of cases of doubt; all drafting of persons concerned is stopped for such period. The number of dental X-ray machines has recently been considerably increased so that all essential X-ray examinations can now be carried out.

Over 90 per cent. of Army recruits are examined by mass radiography to detect primarily the presence of pulmonary tuberculosis. As soon as enough staff and equipment are available all recruits will be so examined. Facilities are available for dental X-ray for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. In the Royal Air Force all recruits have a chest X-ray as a matter of routine. Further chest X-rays, also dental X-rays, are arranged as required. The facilities will be developed further as and when skilled personnel become available.

In general, routine dental X-ray examination and documentation of all personnel is not regarded as justifiable, having regard to the present resources of the country. An inter-Service Committee on medical documentation has recently been appointed to consider the possibility of introducing a common system for the three Services, on the most up-to-date lines, bearing in mind war experience not only in this country, but also in Germany and the United States.