§ 59. Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
asked the Minister of Health why penalties of £10 and £20, respectively, were imposed on two doctors who had been accused by the London Insurance Committee of gross negligence in cases of appendicitis and diphtheria, respectively, but who had been found innocent by a Committee appointed by the Ministry of Health?
As misapprehension has arisen regarding these cases, I will state the facts fully. The death of two insured persons in London in 1924 led to complaints being lodged with the London Insurance Committee in regard to the treatment received by them from the two insurance practitioners concerned. These complaints were investigated by the Medical Service Sub-Committee of the Insurance Committee, which, with the concurrence of its medical members, recommended that in both cases a substantial deduction should be made from the doctors' remuneration. The Insurance Committee itself, however, regarded the cases as cases of gross negligence, and accordingly made representations to me, under the Regulations, for the removal of both doctors from the Medical List. These representations necessitate the appointment of an Inquiry Committee. That Committee, consisting of a barrister and two medical practitioners, found that the allegation of "gross" negligence was not established in either case, but their findings of fact indicated that in one case the doctor had failed to exercise reasonable care, and that in the other case the doctor had failed to respond to a request to visit the patient at what proved to be a critical period in the illness. After careful consideration of the reports of the Committee I came to the conclusion that, while the facts estab 627 lished were not such as to warrant the removal of either practitioner from the Medical List, there was abundant ground for the original recommendation of the Medical Service Sub-Committee that grant should be withheld. My hon. Friend will see from the above that there is no ground for the statement that the practitioners were found innocent. I may add that the procedure followed in these cases presents no exceptional features, but follows the practice of the Insurance Commissioners and of previous Ministers of Health.