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Medical History Sheets

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War why, in a case of which he has particulars, the legal advisers of an ex-soldier were denied a copy of his medical history sheet.

A soldier's medical history sheet is maintained for strictly Service purposes, and copies are not furnished to individuals or their legal advisers. The disclosure of medical history sheets would be detrimental to the public interest, as tending to deter Service personnel from seeking medical treatment, and to impair the frankness of Service medical officers in reporting on them. It is the invariable practice to plead privilege for Service medical documents, a fact which is, I think, widely known.

Is the Minister aware that this particular ex-soldier was, in the course of matrimonial proceedings, seeking to disprove a serious allegation that he had contracted venereal disease while in the Army? In those circumstances, why would not the War Office help in a matter affecting the private, personal and moral character of an individual, where it could not possibly affect any question of privilege or security?

This case has now been settled, and I think we had better leave it alone.