HC Deb 29 November 1926 vol 200 cc961-3

I beg to move, in page 6, line 36, to leave out the word "January" and to insert instead thereof the word "July."

This is an Amendment to alter the date on which the provisions of this Bill come into operation. For one reason or another it has taken some little time to get this Bill through the House, and instead of its coming into operation on the 1st January I desire to postpone it until July. It is obvious that certain arrangements will have to be made for bringing the Measure into operation, and that is the reason why I am postponing the date.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


I would just like to say how pleased I am that we have now arrived at this stage and buried a grievance. I was pleased to hear the speech, made by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto) in illustration of a point we have been pressing for a long time. That remark of mine was not made facetiously; it was a real explanation of what we have been endeavouring to bring home to the House and one country. I once heard a, very good story about a doctor. His wife met one of her husband's patients and she said, "Well, Brown, I am pleased to see you about. Are you getting better?" Brown said, "Yes," and she remarked, "I was talking to the doctor about you only this morning, and we said we never knew how ill you had been until we came to make up the bill!"


This Measure deals with those who die; not with those who recover.


It is not often that I obtrude myself upon the House, and all I wanted to say was that when we come to make up this Bill we shall regard it as a very great Measure indeed. There are many things in the Bill which are a credit to this House. I hope that when the Parliamentary Secretary is considering any extension of this Bill in the ensuing year he will pay attention to the details of the Amendments put forward in the name of my hon. Friend and myself. We do really think that the panel doctors of this country should be compelled by the Government, by the public and by the British Medical Association to put into operation the true and living testimony of the hon. Member here. It is the duty of panel doctors to see to their panel patients until life is extinct, and we think they should do this without imposing any additional charge either upon the nation or upon the family; and the same considerations ought to apply in the case of institutions and hospitals. In the case of a private medical practitioner there would be no additional charge—at least it would not be felt, inasmuch as it would go into the bill in the ordinary course. [Laughter.] Some people are prone to treat this question lightly, but there are provisions in this Bill which people in this country have been seeking to pass into law for 20 years. What we are saying may seem to be facetious, but there is no shock like the shock of a new idea to people of this country. This question of premature burial has been a cause of anxiety to thousands of people in this country, and anything we can do to see that this matter is dealt with thoroughly by the medical fraternity will redound to our credit.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

I would say only one word as a complement of what the hon. Member for Stratford (Mr. Groves) has just said. The really great feature of this Bill that will be found to be really useful is that dealing with the notification of still-births. I thank the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary and the House generally for their assistance in securing the passage of this Measure.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.