§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
2699 This Bill embodies an agreement between the Irish Free State and this country which is designed to meet an administrative problem resulting from the establishment of the Irish Free State and the legislation consequent thereon. As a result of that legislation, the General Medical Council, which had previously been charged with the duty of supervising the medical profession in regard to the whole of the United Kingdom, ceased to exercise any authority or control over the profession in the Irish Free State, and also ceased to be able to place on the register here students who obtained their medical qualification in the Irish Free State. That position was regarded on both sides as unsatisfactory, and negotiations have been taking place for some time. In the meanwhile, by an interim arrangement the General Medical Council have agreed to accept for the Medical Register here, students with qualifications obtained in the Irish Free State. One of the objects of the Bill is to validate that arrangement.
An agreement was reached in the early part of this year in the form of the signed agreement which is set out as Part I of the Schedule of the Bill. I may say that in this matter the British Government has been assisted by Sir Donald Macalister, the President of the General Medical Council, and the agreement has the concurrence and support of the Council. The terms of the agreement are briefly these. On the one hand, so far as the Medical Register in the United Kingdom is concerned, the General Medical Council will continue to admit to the register all persons who, prior to the establishment of the Irish Free State, would have been admissible in respect of qualifications obtained in the area which is now the Irish Free State. Secondly, they will have all the power formerly possessed by them of controlling the examinations giving the right of such admission, so far as is necessary for the purpose of keeping the United Kingdom Register. On the other side, the Irish Free State will establish an Irish Free State Register, and will have complete control of that register and of the profession in the Irish Free State. Provision is made for the admission to the Register on equal terms of all persons on the United Kingdom Register.
2700 The position with regard to the Dentists Act is practically similar, and it is embodied in Part II of the Schedule. I may say that in that matter we have been assisted by Sir Francis Acland, Chairman of the Dental Board of the United Kingdom. The agreement requires legislation both in this country and the Free State. I am glad to say that in the case of the Free State legislation has been passed to give effect to the medical part of the agreement, and I believe it has received the Royal Assent. The legislation in regard to the dental side in the Irish Free State will, I think, under their procedure involve a separate Bill, and I understand that legislation is now going through. I think this is a happy solution of the difficulties which have arisen, and I have no doubt the House will be prepared to give a Second Reading to the Bill.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[Sir K. Wood.]