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Tuesday, 23 July 1946

Mr FORDE (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for the Army) - As the honorable member well knows, this matter has given the Government a good deal of trouble, because of the competing demands of the civilian community and the services.. Committees were constituted for the purpose ofinvestigating every aspect of it. The honorable gentleman served with distinctionon one of those committees some time ago. The demobilization of the forces was commenced on the 1st October, 1945. The number of doctors in the Army was reduced from 1,400 on that date to 360 at the 30'.h June, 1946. In the same period, the number of nurses was reduced from 2,400 to 1,000, and the number of other medical personnel, such as medical orderlies and members of the AustralianMedical Women's Auxiliary Service from 4,600 to 2,450. I assure the honorable gentleman that the matter is being constantly reviewed, with the object of effecting further discharges whenever it is practicable to do so. I point out, however, that hospital establishments have to be maintained in order to deal with recurring cases of sickness due to war service.

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