HC Deb 09 July 1924 vol 175 cc2261-2

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in certain districts the ante-natal and other clinics are not so successful as they otherwise would be, owing to a natural disinclination on the part of many women to go themselves or to take their adolescent daughters to clinics which are under the charge of men medical officers or assistant medical officers of health, especially in those districts where there is a woman assistant medical officer available for such work; and whether he will take steps to ensure that, at any rate, in districts where there are already women assistant medical officers, the work in connection with women and the older girls shall be undertaken by the women medical officers and not by the men, and that upon vacancies occurring in public health appointments, the duties of which consist wholly or mainly of the kind of work above mentioned, such vacancies shall be filled by women in preference to men?


I have no information to support the statement in the first part of the question. As regards the second part, while I favour the employment of women medical officers to take charge of ante-natal clinics, I am not prepared to require that this should be done in all cases.


Is it not a fact that, in the last 12 months, there have been at least three instances where, when vacancies have occurred, the posts have been given to men?


I have not the information, but I have no reason to doubt that statement.


Will the right hon. Gentleman cause inquiries to be made with a view to ascertaining what were the reasons for this retrograde and reactionary change?

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

Will not the right hon. Gentleman admit the fact that many women prefer to be treated by men, and that in many cases it is better to have men?


I will make myself as well informed as possible on the subject.