HC Deb 06 June 1878 vol 240 cc1319-22

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 21, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 22 (Saving as to registration under 21 and 22 Vict. c. 90).

MR. YOUNG moved an Amendment, the object of which, he said, was that a person registered under this Act should lot be privileged to call himself "surgeon," or "surgeon-dentist," or otherwise to incorporate the word "surgeon" with any other word, so as to give the public an idea that he was a duly qualified surgeon. In point of fact, gentlemen registered under this Act would be licensed dentists, and, as such, the Profession had no objection to their calling themselves what they were; but they did object to their describing themselves as what they were not. The Committee would see that the objection he took was not only in the interest of the Profession, but likewise in the interest, of the public. It was fair for the Profession to prevent interlopers from going into another branch of the Profession, and holding themselves out as having the same rank as ordinary medical men. Regularly qualified medical practitioners had borne "the burden and heat of the day," and had gone to large expense, and taken up much time in their education; and, if they did take to a speciality, they were, he submitted, fairly entitled to describe themselves as "surgeon-dentists," or anything else that would not deceive the public, but would give a right description of their real position. At the same time, he had no objection to the Bill, as it would be a register of gentlemen who practised the art of dentistry; but he did not think it right that they should be able to mix themselves up in the public mind with the other branch of the Profession. In the interest of the public it was right to encourage, so far as legislation could, gentlemen who had gone through the whole curriculum and had made themselves well acquainted with the human body, to take up dentistry as a speciality. When they were compelled to sit in that uncomfortable chair, it was a satisfaction to know that the operator knew something else besides dentistry. That was hardly possible with gentlemen who were only registered under this Act. Therefore, he thought that it was in the interest of the public that the Profession should be supported by this Amendment. A Petition had been presented by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke), very numerously signed, in support of the Amendment. That Petition had been signed by the present Royal College of Physicians, by Sir William Gull, Mr. Holt, Mr. Girling, Dr. Johnson, and many other gentlemen of eminence in the Medical Profession. He objected to the clause as it stood, because it might lead to great confusion; and, therefore, he moved to insert, in page 7, line 3, after the word "name," the word "or."

Question proposed, "That the word 'or' be inserted."


said, that from time immemorial the title surgeon-dentist had been allowed. In 1860 an attempt was made to prosecute a Mr. Gill for assuming this title. The Lord Chief Justice then said that immemorial usage had sanctioned the use of the title. Under the circumstances, he thought it undesirable to complicate matters by introducing a question on which, in the Medical Profession, there was a wide difference of opinion. If the Amendment were adopted, he did not know that it would have the effect of preventing the use of this title, since it was not against the common law of the land. The real object of the Bill was to prevent quackery, and enable the public to distinguish between educated dentists, and those who had really no title to the name.


hoped the Government would say something with regard to the prospective value of this Amendment, which was exceedingly interesting to medical gentlemen, of whom 200 had signed a Petition in favour of it.


was sorry that the Vice President of the Council was not at the moment in his place, and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had not had his attention strictly called to the Amendment. He would look into the matter, and, if it were necessary, an Amendment could be introduced on the Report.


suggested that some words should be altered in the clause, otherwise there would be no Report.


suggested that the word "or" might be inserted, and he would refrain from moving the consequential Amendments on the understanding that this subject would be re-considered on the Report.


objected that the word "or" would then be surplusage, having no meaning.


protested against the insertion of an Amendment with the sole object of inflicting on the Bill an additional stage. There were already sufficient safeguards in the Bill against anyone assuming a title to which he had no right.


suggested that an opportunity of inserting Amendments might be had in the House of Lords


said, that not only the dentists, but the Medical Profession generally were strongly in favour of the Bill as it now stood.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time upon Thursday next.