HC Deb 12 May 1879 vol 246 c124

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether, considering the complicated circumstances in which the important question of medical reform is now placed, and in order to avoid further unnecessary delay, he will now agree to its reference to a Select Committee as soon as possible, so that some progress may be made towards dealing with it?


Sir, I stated some time back the course that the Government intended to pursue—namely, to embody in a Bill those educational reforms which had met, after protracted discussion, with the approval of the vast majority of the Medical Profession, and to refer to a Select Committee the disputed question of the constitution of the Medical Council, undertaking that the Government Bill should not be proceeded with until the Report of the Committee had been received. This course, in our opinion, was the most convenient and the most likely to save time; but I have been unable to carry it out, as the appointment of the Committee is blocked by an Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, which he will not withdraw. We are, therefore, in this position—that we must either accede to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman to refer all the questions contained in all the Medical Bills to a Select Committee, or postpone indefinitely—for the same difficulty would arise next Session—the prospect of medical reform. As this is a contingency much feared by medical reformers, we are ready to adopt the inconvenient procedure forced on us rather than sacrifice our Bill; and if, therefore, those hon. Gentlemen who have Amendments to the Medical Bills will withdraw them, so as to allow them to be read a second time, I will move that they be referred in their entirety to a Select Committee.