HC Deb 16 July 1936 vol 314 cc2213-4

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Dr. Alan Tuke, Dunfermline, a certifying surgeon appointed under the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, for the district of Dunfermline, is also a medical adviser to the Scottish Mineowners' Defence and Mutual Insurance Association, Limited, Dunfermline; and what steps he intends to take in connection with the matter?


I understand on inquiry that while Dr. Tuke reports on particular cases for the association from time to time, he does not hold any appointment as their adviser. He has been certifying factory surgeon for 25 years without, apparently, any complaint as to his not being impartial in the performance of his duties, and it is most desirable that certifying surgeons should be men of wide experience.


Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest having regard to the circumstances related by him, that Dr. Tuke is sufficiently unbiased to hold the responsible office of certifying surgeon?


My own feeling, and I think the hon. Member will share it, is that it is very important that a certifying surgeon should be both an honest and an experienced medical man. Of course, it would be wrong for him to act as it were on both sides in the same matter, and I am sure he does not do so, but I would add that the general question of the position and functions of certifying surgeons under the Workmen's Compensation Act is now being reviewed by the Departmental Committee on Workmen's Compensation. I feel sure that this matter is one which they would consider.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that if this doctor has certified anybody in his district to be suffering from an industrial disease, steps are taken to prevent him examining on behalf of the employers any man suffering from any of these diseases?


That proposition is perfectly right. I have already made inquiries, and I am assured that this doctor does not do so, but I certainly will make further inquiries, and I quite agree with what the hon. Gentleman says.