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Foreign Service Staffs (Medical Facilities)

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 1 June 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is satisfied that adequate medical and hospital facilities are available for foreign service personnel serving in Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland.

In Poland, the British and United States Embassies in Warsaw have combined in providing a small but well equipped hospital to which a British doctor is being appointed. In the four other countries panels of local doctors have been appointed for the provision of treatment for Foreign Service staffs, free of cost to themselves, and as far as possible on the same lines as those of the National Health scheme in the United Kingdom. These arrangements are working well generally and providing reasonably adequate medical facilities. Hospital facilities in these four countries vary. In Bulgaria, arrangements exist whereby emergency cases can be evacuated by air to British Military Hospitals at Trieste, and whereby drugs and medical supplies which are not available locally can be sent from the United Kingdom or from Trieste.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in many of these countries local doctors are very unwilling to attend a case of sickness in a foreigner's house, particularly when that foreigner is a British official?

I am not aware that these arrangements are not working well, but if there are any particular instances where they are not, I will look into them.