HC Deb 14 July 1938 vol 338 cc1501-3
32. Mr. Riley

asked the Home Secretary whether he is granting permits to all alien refugees coming to this country who are qualified doctors or dentists to practise their profession and is also granting permits to all such refugees who are desirous of studying for these professions?

Sir S. Hoare

It has always been recognised that a policy of unrestricted admission would be out of the question. Only a small number of foreign practitioners can be absorbed into the medical and dental professions, and it will be necessary to select this number with care. To assist me in making this selection, it is proposed that applications shall be examined by a committee on which there will be representatives of the medical and dental professions and of the refugee organisations.

Mr. Riley

Is it not a fact that there is a shortage of qualified practitioners in this country, and if that is the case, will the right hon. Gentleman give consideration to this matter?

Sir S. Hoare

No, Sir. I am not informed that there is a shortage of medical practitioners in the country.

Mr. Mathers

Has the right hon. Gentleman received intimation of the concern of doctors practising in this country about the numbers who have already been admitted to practise here?

Sir S. Hoare

I have had discussions with representatives of the principal medical organisations, and we both agree that discrimination must be exercised. I think it will be found that we shall be able to admit a limited number and at the same time maintain effective discrimination.

Mr. Mander

Do we not want to take up as generous an attitude as we can on this matter, in accordance with our long national tradition?

43. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Home Secretary whether he has arrived at any decision in regard to the number of medical practitioners of Austrian nationality who may be admitted to this country; and what restrictions, if any, are imposed upon them in connection with the practice of their profession?

Sir S. Hoare

I have been in consultation with representatives of the medical profession, and I agree with them that the number of Austrian doctors who can be absorbed into the profession is limited. Before coming to a decision as to a precise figure I should wish to wait until there has been further opportunity of ascertaining how many of the applicants are persons possessing special qualifications or having special claims to consideration. In reviewing applications consideration will also be given to such questions as what arrangements the applicant proposes to make for acquiring the necessary qualification to practise in this country and in what part of the country he proposes to settle.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind in his contact with this committee that many of the foreign practitioners are able to practice in this country after a very short period of study, whereas those already in this country have to have a long and expensive course, and some of them might be penalised on that account?

Sir S. Hoare

Yes, certainly; that is a factor that must be taken into account.

Mr. Lipson

Do the figures of the doctors of foreign nationality who have come to this country justify the anxiety which is felt in some quarters with regard to these doctors being allowed here, the majority of whom come because of religious or political persecution?

Sri S. Hoare

I believe that with co-operation between the medical profession, the refugees committees and the Home Office we can reconcile the two needs and afford a refuge to a certain number of refugees without flooding the profession here with doctors who are not required in the country.

Dr. Edith Summerskill

Is it not a fact that many doctors in this country believe that the Austrian doctors can make a helpful contribution to medical knowledge in this country?

Sir S. Hoare

Yes, I think that is the fact, and it shows how necessary it is to deal with these applications case by case on their merits.

Mr. Thorne

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that if an application were made to the German Government, they would allow these doctors to stop in their own country?