HC Deb 29 July 1862 vol 168 cc983-4

said, he would beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether it is the intention of the Lords of Privy Council, in consequence of the way in which the Compulsory Vaccination Act has worked, to permit gentlemen who have the diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons, and who have also undergone an examination in Vaccination, and have obtained a certificate of competency in Vaccination, to receive the appointment of Public Vaccinator wherever Boards of Guardians are disposed to make the appointment under such qualifications; and whether the Privy Council has not been made acquainted with the apparent necessity for some relaxation of the regulations with reference to the present mode of appointing Public Vaccinators?


said, that when Parliament established the system of compulsory Vaccination, it became the duty of the Privy Council to see that the system of Vaccination was as good as possible, and regulations were established under which persons properly qualified were enabled to contract with Boards of Guardians to perform the duty of Public Vaccinators. Inquiry was made into the state of instruction in vaccination, and it was found that of the bodies which gave medical and surgical degrees none took any care at all about the instruction of their pupils in vaccination; the consequence of which was that the Committee of Council established fifteen stations in England, presided over by persons whom they knew to be skilful vaccinators, and they required that every person who took his medical degree after 1860, who wished to contract with Poor Law Guardians, should produce a certificate of qualification in vaccination from one of these fifteen stations. Care was taken that there should be a station near every place of medical education in England. These were the precautions which were taken. He was now asked by the hon. Gentleman whether it was not considered right to relax these precautions in favour of gentlemen who have the diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons. He did not think it would be right to do so, and for this reason—the Royal College of Surgeons did not give instruction in vac- cination to their pupils, nor did they take the trouble to examine them to ascertain that they were vaccinators; they only required that some certificate should be had from a medical practitioner that the candidate could vaccinate. He did not think that such an arrangement afforded sufficient security that a person was qualified to vaccinate, and the Privy Council would, therefore, persist in requiring a certificate of competency from some person who they could feel sure was qualified to give a decision in the matter.