§ 19. Sir BASIL PETO
asked the Minister of Health, whether the General Medical Council or the Medical Research Council are concerned with the investigation of new discoveries in connection with, and new treatments of, disease; if not, whether there is any body of medical men in this country whose business it is to make such investigation officially: and, if not, how his department is kept advised of such new discoveries and treatments?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative as regards the General Medical Council, and in the affirmative as regards the Medical Research Council. The recognised method of bringing a new discovery to notice is publication of the scientific evidence for it in a technical journal. This allows its value to science or practice to be confirmed or otherwise by other workers.
§ Sir B. PETO
As the public generally do not read these technical papers of the medical profession, can the right hon. Gentleman say in what way the public can be informed, in view of the action which is taken by the General Medical Council in the case of any member of the profession who advises the public of a new treatment by any communication in the public Press?
Is it not the view of the right hon. Gentleman that the less the public know, read and think about disease, the freer they will be from it?
I cannot admit that it is not desirable that alleged new medical discoveries should be submitted to technical examination, and I do not think it is possible for the Medical Research Council to take any useful action unless they have the benefit of some such publication as I have suggested.
§ 20. Sir B. PETO
asked the Minister of Health whether he has recently received particulars respecting new discoveries in treatment for asthma and goitre from a medical specialist; whether these discoveries have been investigated; and, if not, whether there is any step which can be taken by his Department to see that the value of these discoveries is thoroughly investigated?
The answer to the first question is in the affirmative. As regards the second and third questions, I am advised that the case is not one in which the Ministry could appropriately take any action.