HC Deb 27 February 1941 vol 369 cc614-5
35. Dr. Edith Summerskill

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make arrangements for individuals in reception areas who plead ill-health as a reason for not receiving evacuees to have a medical examination by an independent doctor without local association?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I appreciate the suggestion in my hon. Friend's Question, but I think we must continue to rely on the scrupulousness of the medical profession in providing medical certificates and on the good sense of chief billeting officers and billeting tribunals in attaching due weight to pleas of ill health. The Defence (Billeting Tribunals) Rules, 1939, enable the tribunals to hear such evidence and make such investigations as they may think fit.

Dr. Summerskill

Is the Minister aware that many healthy people in reception areas ask doctors to give them medical certificates to free them from their obligations, and that if an arrangement of this kind were introduced, the difficulty would be overcome?

Mr. Brown

I should be glad to receive any evidence as to that.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Has the Department of the right hon. Gentleman made it perfectly clear what penalty would accrue to any medical man giving a certificate that was not justified?

Mr. Brown

I think that my original answer can very well stand in the light of that supplementary question.

Sir I. Albery

Is it not a reflection upon the medical profession; and is it not the fact that a qualified medical attendant of any person is better qualified than any stranger to judge?

Mr. Brown

Again, I would refer my hon. Friend to my original answer, which, I think, contains all that is necessary.

Mr. David Adams

Would it not be desirable to press the doctors referred to, to raise their fees?