HC Deb 06 July 1858 vol 151 cc994-1000

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed—

"That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


rose, to move that the Bill be proceeded with that day six months. The measure was one which was supported solely by the Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians; the profession generally were opposed to it and the public, much as their interests were affected by it, knew nothing about it. It was an ill-considered measure, and, from the advanced period of the Session, it would be impossible to bring it to a conclusion. If it were a simple Bill for registration of medical practitioners, that object might be effected in a much simpler method than by the machinery of this Bill; it, however, went much further, providing for the establishment of regulating councils. By the 41st clause of the Act the Treasury was to defray the expense of carrying out the measure. He for his part would not consent to saddle the public with any such expense. No one ought to give his consent to the Bill until he had seen the dissection made of it in the Westminster Review of April and the present month, which showed conclusively that the proposed Medical Council was simply a method of centralizing and consolidating the powers of those corporations. The measure was one which would meet with the greatest opposition; there would be numerous divisions on almost every clause, and he implored the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper) not to waste the time of the House and the Government by persisting in a measure which it would be impossible to carry through this Session.


seconded the Motion.

Amendment proposed,— To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee,"—instead thereof.


admitted, that on the second reading the Bill did not receive that full consideration which it deserved. With regard to the observation of the hon. Member that this Bill was not looked upon with favour by the profession, he would refer him to the large number of petitions to that House from the profession in support of it: he believed that none but those who were unqualified practitioners were hostile to it. He therefore trusted the House would not interpose any further delay in going into Committee on the Bill, as he had not heard any fair reason for postponing it.


said, that considering he had presented petitions against this measure from the Medical College of Edinburgh, he had listened with some surprise to the statement of the hon. Gentleman that those only objected to it who were unqualified practitioners; but he regretted the course taken by the hon. Member for Finsbury, because, although he had numerous Amendments on the paper, he thought that if there was a possibility of going on with it they might legislate this Session, supposing the right hon. Gentleman were to make such moderate concessions as were demanded of him; hitherto, however, the right hon. Gentleman had steadfastly refused to meet the views of those who were opposed to some parts of the Bill. If they were going to have a lengthened discussion on every clause it would be utterly useless to expect any legislation on the subject at present.


was very anxious to know what were the intentions of the Government with regard to the measure?


said, that on the second reading of this Bill he had stated his views on the matter, and had since incorporated those views in the shape of Amendments to be proposed in Committee. They were first to form a General Council, and then to lay down such a course of study and examination as would entitle the Council to grant licenses. He did not think that the registration provided for by the Bill would only result in the compilation of a medical directory; something more was to be expected from its establishment than that. He did not think, considering the great interest felt in this question, after much care had been expended in the framing of a Bill, and a day had been appointed for its discussion, it would be right now to refuse to go into Committee. When the House was in Committee they could more precisely ascertain what the objections to the Bill were, and if they were such as no mere alteration of the Bill could remove, he, on the part of the Government, would propose a course which should be acceptable to all parties.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 95; Noes 8: Majority 87.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

House in Committee.

Clause 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3.

MR. T. DUNCOMBE moved that all the clauses should be postponed till they came to the consideration of the 41st clause, which provided that until the fees were sufficient for the working of the Bill the expenses should be advanced by the Government. He thought before they proceeded further, they ought to decide who were to pay for going into this legislative quackery, for quackery, after all, it was. If it was not competent for him now to move this Amendment, he must only oppose all the clauses, clause by clause, until they came to the 41st.


said, with regard to the 41st clause it was so framed that it would not make any demand upon the public purse. He therefore appealed to the hon. Member for Finsbury not to impede the progress of the Bill. When they came to the 41st clause, he hoped to satisfy the hon. Gentleman that the clause did not bear the construction which he put upon it.


also hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Duncombe) would not persevere against the opposition which he met with on the division which had just taken place. He thought the feeling of the profession with respect to this Bill was decidedly in its favour, and he believed it contained the foundation of a good measure of legislation for the country.


thought that this Bill met the wishes of the medical profession as much as any others which had been proposed, and after it was amended in Committee he saw no reason why it should not be passed. He was sure it would give satisfaction to the medical profession in Ireland.


was very anxious to know, before they proceeded further, what would be the expense of carrying out the Bill, and what proportion would probably be returned in fees. He complained that in almost every new measure, with the exception of that introduced by the Attorney General for Ireland with respect to land transfer in that country, the principle had been to defray the cost of carrying out the Act out of the public funds.


said, that the hon. Gentleman could not be aware of the amount of the fees to be paid by the persons who availed themselves of the benefit of this Act.


replied, stating that the only result of the appointment of the Council would be to perpetuate a monopoly, and the medical profession viewed it with the greatest jealousy.

He did not believe that any portion of the expenses of carrying it out would be refunded by means of fees.


said, that he was quite opposed to the Government being saddled with the expense of the Act, and therefore should support all the clauses which would tend to establish a scale of fees sufficiently high to defray that expense. The 41st clause was merely for the purpose of obtaining an advance from the Government until the fees came in. He thought it was unnecessary.


hoped the Committee would be allowed to proceed with the Bill.


said, that as be did not consider the 41st clause essential he would consent to withdraw it when it was arrived at in due course.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4,

MR. AYRTON moved, that the President of the Council should be elected by that body among themselves, instead of being nominated by Her Majesty as proposed by the clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 14 agreed to.

Clause 15.

MR. HEADLAM moved an Amendment to the effect that no practitioners but such as had passed an examination at the Colleges of Physicians and the College of Surgeons, and received license to practise therefrom, should be permitted to register themselves under the Bill.

Amendment proposed,— In page 5, lines 19, 20, to leave out "subject to the provisions hereinafter captained, every person hereafter becoming possessed.


opposed the Amendment, which he said militated against the main objects of the Bill—namely, the continuance of all the existing bodies by whom degrees and diplomas are granted so long as the course of study in them shall be satisfactory to the Council to be appointed under the Bill.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 138; Noes 51; Majority 87.

Clause agreed to, as were also Clauses 16 to 25.

Clause 26.

MR. HEADLAM moved to add a proviso that no person should be erased from the register on the ground of his having adopted any particular theory of medicine or surgery.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 27 to 40 inclusive were agreed to.

Clause 41 struck out.

Clauses 42 to 44 agreed to.

Clause 45.

MR. HADFIELD moved to insert a proviso to the effect that within twelve months after the granting of such charter to the College of Physicians of London, any fellow, member, or licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, or of the Queen's College of Physicians of Ireland, who may be in practice as a physician in any part of the United Kingdom called England, and who may be desirous of becoming a fellow or member of such College of Physicians of England, shall be at liberty to do so, and be entitled to receive the diploma of the said College, and to be admitted to all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining, on the payment of a registration fee of () pounds to the said College.


agreed to the Amendment; but with reference to a proposed exemption from stamp duty which the proviso first contained, said the hon. Gentleman must consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Proviso, as amended, agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

MR. HEADLAM moved to insert the following clause in lieu of Clause 16:— After the passing of this Act the medical registrars shall, under the authority of the respective branch Councils, require proof from every person who applies to be registered as a physician, and who is not qualified to be registered as such under the provisions of section 15 of this Act that he has completed the age of 24 years, and that he has graduated in Arts and Medicine, or in Medicine after having passed the examinations for a degree in Arts in some University of the United Kingdom, or in some foreign University approved by the General Council, or that his case comes within some special exception established by the General Council, and that he has been examined by and has received letters testimonials as a physician from one of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of England, Scotland, or Ireland, and has been enrolled as a member of that College.


opposed the clause as unnecessary.

Clause negatived.

MR. BERESFORD HOPE moved to insert the following clause after Clause 45:— It shall, notwithstanding anything herein contained, be lawful for Her Majesty, by charter, to grant to the Royal College of Surgeons of England power to institute and hold examinations for the purpose of testing the fitness of persons to practise as Dentists, who may be desirous of being so examined, and to grant certificates of such fitness.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.