HC Deb 14 July 1926 vol 198 cc586-8

(1) A local supervising authority may grant exemption from the operation of this Part of this Act in respect of—

  1. (a) any hospital or other premises for the conduct of which a duly qualified medical practitioner resident therein is responsible; or
  2. (b) any hospital or institution not carried on for profit and not used mainly as a maternity home.

(2) A local supervising authority may at any time withdraw an exemption granted by it under this section.

(3) Any person who is aggrieved by the refusal of local supervising authority to grant exemption under this section in respect of any hospital, premises or institution, or by the withdrawal of any such exemption previously granted by the authority, may appeal against the refusal or withdrawal to the Minister of Health, and the Minister, after considering the matter, shall give such directions therein as he thinks proper, and the authority shall comply with any directions so given.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

I beg to move: " That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment is necessary in order to allow certain social welfare institutions, that occasionally take in maternity cases incidental to their work, to escape inspection where the local supervisory authority thinks it can safely be done. It will appeal to all Members of this House when they realise that there are certain homes known as Rescue Homes and other places of that sort which occasionally have cases of women who give birth to children. They come there and are properly looked after, but it is of the essence of the good work of these institutions that there should be no publicity about it. It is for that reason that these homes appeal to us to have them exempted from the necessity of public inspection. It was especially in connexion with the Salvation Army that we were approached. Obviously it would be open to some kind of difficulty unless it were left still to the judgment of the proper authority. The local supervisory authority is therefore given power to exempt in such cases. This is given to any hospital or other premises for the conduct of which a duly qualified medical practitioner resident therein is responsible, or any hospital or institution not carried on for profit and not used mainly for a maternity home; and in these cases the local supervisory authority may at any time withdraw the exemption granted by it under this Clause.


Having listened to the explanation of this important Amendment it seems a very great pity that we should be in a position to consider this Bill at all at this late hour. The hon. Member must know that an Amendment of this kind is very controversial. We were assured, when we were asked whether we would consider the Lords Amendments to-night, that the Amendments were not controversial. Obviously the principle involved here is of very great importance. It is perfectly obvious that a large number of cases of maternity which are likely to be dealt with in the very class of home to which we have referred are cases from the working class, and power is to be given apparently for those institutions to be exempted from inspection. Obviously that is not at all to the interest of working class mothers who may be confined in institutions of that kind. I suggest that the hon. Member would be wise, in view of the strong feeling likely to he aroused in the minds of many Members of this House, to withdraw this Amendment and let us have time to consider it.


In regard to the first Amendment I have nothing to say; I think it was quite necessary. But in regard to this one, while I am in general sympathy with it, I do think, perhaps, it requires a little consideration. On the whole, there is an effective safeguard in the fact that the inspecting authority will require to be satisfied of the bona fides of any hospital or similar institution which is exempted, before exemption is given, but I would like the hon. Member to consent to another safeguard, and that is that the exemption so given should not extend for more than 12 months. We can quite understand that exemption might be given to one of these places, and it might be quite all right, but—


I take it that the hon. Member is objecting. If that be so, as it is after 11 o'clock, the Debate must stand adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Wednesday next.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after half-past Eleven of the Clock upon Wednesday evening; Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at Ten Minutes before One o'Clock.