HC Deb 06 August 1850 vol 113 cc888-91

House in Committee.

Clause 10.

MR. G. A. HAMILTON moved, that the appointment of officers should be committed to the managing committee of the dispensary district, subject to the control of the guardians. He objected to the power given to the Commissioners by the clause as it stood, to determine absolutely the salaries and qualifications of medical officers; and he considered that the appointments ought to be open to all duly qualified medical men.

Amendment proposed, p. 4, 1. 19, to leave out the words "with such qualifications and salaries as the said Commissioners shall determine," in order to insert the words "duly qualified by law," instead thereof.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 36; Noes 15: Majority 21.

Clause agreed to; as was Clause 11.

Clause 12.


urged upon the right hon. Secretary for Ireland the expediency of striking out for the present all the clauses relating to infirmaries, and leaving the Bill a Bill relating to dispensaries alone. The subject of infirmaries was a very large and important one. They possessed property by bequest and otherwise; and it was not right they should be handed, as the Bill proposed, to the complete authority of the Commissioners. The profession was of opinion that the infirmaries should be exempted. If the Government would not consent to this, he would move an Amendment, that the governors of infirmaries should, if they thought proper, claim exemption.


must resist the Amendment.


was anxious to protect the practitioners in Ireland, who were generally men of very high merit, from the power of the Commissioners, who might, under the clause, determine the important question of medical qualifications arbitrarily. He considered all the medical offices should be open to all medical men who were at present qualified by law.

Amendment proposed, page 5, lines 14 and 15, to leave out the words "from and after the passing of this Act," in order to insert the words "is, or," instead thereof.


said, he had no objection to introduce some proviso which would meet the case of institutions haying property, and which he would introduce on the report. He could not consent to mutilate the measure by confining it to dispensaries, nor to make its operation conditional on the consent of the governors of other institutions. Such an exemption would prevent the complete arrangement; that was contemplated, and interfere with the establishment of district hospitals. He believed also, that the abuses of the infirmaries were as great as those of the dispensaries.


, looking at the magnitude of the changes proposed, could not but wish that the Bill might be postponed till next Session. They were dividing on most important questions with less than fifty Members present, including very few Irish Members, and nothing was more easy than for the Government to over-ride whatever objections might be made.

Question put, "That the words pro- posed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 35; Noes 8: Majority 27.


said, there were four lines in brackets in the clause, which exempted the Dublin hospitals from the operation of the Bill. He saw no reason for exempting these hospitals, in one of which the medical appointments were regularly sold. He moved that the words constituting this exemption should be omitted.


said, that every one in Dublin would testify that these hospitals were well conducted, and were of universal benefit to the people, without distinction of creed. If their management was handed over to this new board, it would neutralise many of the benefits now conferred by those institutions. The people of Dublin had the most unbounded confidence in the managers, which would not be the case if any change were made.


opposed the Amendment.


said, these hospitals did not differ from any other county hospital. The Meath Hospital was the hospital for the county of Dublin. The system of bargain and sale which prevailed in some of these institutions, loudly called for a change in the management.


said, the Meath hospital was one of the most celebrated schools of medicine in Europe. On bringing up the report, he would insert a proviso, giving an option to these hospitals to come under the operation of the Act, if they thought it desirable.


withdrew his Amendment.

Clause agreed to; as were Clauses 13 to 34 inclusive.

Clause 35.


then moved the Amendment of which he had given notice. As he was informed, the apothecaries of Ireland were 2,000 in number, of whom one-half were surgeons or physicians. It was apprehended that these gentlemen would be excluded from holding any appointment under medical charities unless some such words as he proposed were inserted. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland would perhaps say, that the apothecaries would obtain a status, under these words, to which they were not entitled; but up to a very recent period a clause or words were always intro- duced, preserving the rights of the apothecaries. He was afraid that the rights of the apothecaries were going to be sacrificed to the magnates of the medical profession in Dublin.

Amendment proposed, page 15, line 35, after the word "hospital," to insert the words "and that the words medical officer and medical practitioner shall be construed to extend to and to include any legally qualified physician, surgeon, or apothecary."


did not think that any such addition as was now proposed was ever introduced into the interpretation clause of such Bills, as that which they were now considering; and if he consented to insert the words he would be taking upon himself to decide a question which had been long a matter of dispute in the medical profession.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes23; Noes 46: Majority 23.

House resumed.

Bill, as amended, to be considered on Thursday, and to be printed.