HC Deb 24 June 1927 vol 207 cc2279-81

I beg to move, in page 5, line 28, after the word "or," to insert the words: (b) by reason of the appointment at any time after the commencement of this Act of a person who is not either a qualified nurse or a certified midwife to superintend the nursing of the patients in the home; or. This Amendment is simply designed to fill a gap which has been pointed out in the Bill.


I beg to second the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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


In the Committee stage a number of my colleagues and myself raised points, which, I think, have been met, and I hope the Bill will now get its Third Reading.


I would like to ask my hon. Friends in charge of this Bill whether they should not reconsider, when the Bill is in another place, Subsection (2), which says: If any person being either a male person or a woman not certified under this Act attends a woman in childbirth otherwise than under the direction and personal supervision of a duly qualified medical practitioner, that person shall, unless he or she satisfies the Court that the attention was given in a case of sudden or urgent necessity. My hon. Friends and myself who represent rural constituencies know perfectly well that these sudden emergencies do arise very often in remote country districts where there is no doctor or certified nurse, and very often, because of the neighbourliness of a neighbour, the crisis is dealt with. We who come from Scotland think it is an extreme hardship that a neighbour who attends a woman suddenly in this way should be asked to go to Court to explain why she so attended. I would like my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate to consider whether it would not be possible by some means or other to secure that that shall not occur.


The right hon. Gentleman is evidently not familiar with the proceedings on this Bill. This matter was thoroughly considered in Committee. My hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite consulted together with a view to meeting the special difficulties which may arise in the Highland districts, and were able to arrive at the Amendments which have been inserted, and which, in the opinion of those best qualified to judge, entirely meet the difficulty which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. W. Watson)

I quite appreciate the force of what my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) has suggested. Although in form Clause 1 has to provide that certain things constitute an offence unless a particular defence can be set up— unless she satisfies the Court as the Clause says—we only reach that stage if the Prosecutor Fiscal has decided that there is to be a prosecution. It really is important that in cases where a little friendly help has been given in an emergency there should not be a prosecution, and those who are familiar with the practice of Prosecutors Fiscal will be content to think that a Prosecutor Fiscal would never dream of bringing into Court a case where only a little friendly help had been given


I want to point out further that as the result of negotiations by those who have not just discovered the Bill we have been able to secure Amendments which will meet the very point raised by the right hon. Gentleman. We were looking after the poor areas when other people were otherwise occupied.


I want to say only one word, and that is to thank those in all parts of the House who have co-operated in getting the Bill through. We have done a good day's work for Scotland, and on behalf of the promoters of the Bill I beg to thank all who have assisted.