HC Deb 20 February 1941 vol 369 cc280-1
16. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Minister of Health, in connection with the recent Regulation permitting the temporary registration of alien doctors in this country for the purpose of medical work in the war effort, how many alien doctors have so far been granted this recognition, stating the number in the category of nationality, and how many are in the Services; and whether the present machinery for facilitating this registration is working satisfactorily in view of the present urgent demand for trained medical personnel?

Mr. E. Brown

I am informed that 18 alien doctors, all of whom are citizens of the U.S.A., have so far been registered under an Order of September, 1940, which applies only to such citizens and to Canadians. I am not aware that any of of this group of doctors are in the Fighting Services. Under a more comprehensive Order of January, 1941, the cases of some hundreds of alien doctors, who are of Allied nationality or refugees from enemy countries, are being investigated as speedily as possible, but none have yet been registered.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are many Allied doctors, especially Dutch and Czecho-Slovakian doctors, who are men of unquestionable integrity and qualification, who are most desirous of serving this country and who are at the present time doing nothing at all? Can he accelerate the process?

Mr. Brown

I will do my best.

Mr. Granville

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a serious shortage of doctors in the rural districts of this country?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Gentleman knows of any particular cases, perhaps he will bring them to my notice.

19. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health why Spanish refugee doctors are not given the same opportunity as other refugee doctors in being permitted temporarily to practise in this country; and whether he will take steps to remedy this?

Mr. Brown

The object of the Order is to facilitate the enrolment of suitable foreign doctors in such services as the armed forces of their own countries present in the United Kingdom and the hospital service of this country. So far as I am aware, these services would not benefit to any appreciable extent by addition to the list of territories specified in the Order, but if my hon. Friend will supply me with any information in his possession as to the number of doctors concerned I shall be pleased to consider it.

Mr. Sorensen

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that these Spanish refugee doctors were among the first victims of Nazi and Fascist aggression, and that they therefore deserve special consideration?

Mr. Brown

Perhaps the hon. Member will do as I have asked him.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the majority of refugee Spanish doctors in this country are not neutrals but that they are passionately anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist, and, secondly, that the services of one of the greatest experts in the country on blood transfusion is being wasted? Can they not be utilised?

Mr. Brown

Perhaps the hon. Lady will let me know about it. I know of some whose services are being used in certain ways.