asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many medical officers are now employed on medical duties by his Department and the National Coal Board; what are the nature and scope of their duties; whether the medical work is to be supervised and co-ordinated regionally or nationally; and whether any information can be made available as to plans for a revised future national mining medical service, not only for accidents but for diseases, especially as compared with the medical service in the mining industry in the past.
Nine medical officers are at present employed by my Department, at headquarters and in the coalfields, in inspectorial and advisory functions as regards first-aid and occupational diseases at coal mines and metalliferous mines and quarries. The National Coal Board are now in process of recruiting a medical staff comprising one Chief Medical Officer at headquarters, who has already been appointed, and seven medical officers for duty in the coalfields. These appointments are being made in pursuance of the Board's intention to develop and co-ordinate, nationally and region ally, an industrial medical service of the highest possible standard. At coal mines, the service will be associated with medical treatment centres equipped on modern lines and in charge of fully qualified nt rses and supervised part-time by doctors. To date, over 20 have been appointed and the number will be increased as accommodation can be built and trained staff become available.