HC Deb 24 January 1902 vol 101 cc799-800
MR. ARTHURLEE (Hampshire, Fareham)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will consider the desirability of advising the appointment of a Royal Commission on Cancer, on similar lines to that which has been appointed to inquire into Tuberculosis.

Dr. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, may I ask him whether his attention has been directed to a scheme, backed by the leaders of the medical profession, for the organisation of research in cancer, and whether he will wait until this is fully formed and developed before committing himself to the costly and dilatory process of a Royal Commission?


In answer to the hon. Gentleman opposite, I have to say that my attention has been called to the statement to which he refers. I have no other information as to the progress which this interesting experiment in organization is making. I am sure I wish it all success. As regards the Question put to me by my hon. friend, I entirely agree as to the impor- tance of this subject of investigation, but I confess that my instinct is not in favour of attempting to deal with it by means of a Royal Commission. I do not, as at present advised, think that the cases of cancer and tuberculosis are at all parallel. I think there is no parallel. I think the number of great scientific discoveries which have been made by Royal Commissions is probably very limited, and that it would probably be better to leave this subject in the hands of the medical profession in all countries, whose attention is, and has been for some years past, directed towards it. Of course, if those competent to speak for the medical profession in this country take a different view—and they are much more qualified to judge than I am—I have no doubt that that view will be brought before the Government and will receive full consideration.


Will the First Lord of the Treasury consider the advisability of providing a substantial Government grant to assist these investigations, in view of the fact that no funds are available for the purpose?


The question raises a very large issue, which I should not like to touch on at the present moment. The amount of Government money given to experiments in the country is not very large. Whether it ought or ought not to be increased is certainly a question which I could not answer on the spur of the moment. It would require full consideration and consultation with my colleagues. But there has been no application up to the present time for a grant for this particular object.

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