HC Deb 19 June 1941 vol 372 cc807-9
24. Sir F. Fremantle

asked the Minister of Health whether a decision has been reached, on the recommendation of the Robinson Committee, that an organisation should be set up for the settlement of questions of priority as between the demands of the Forces and civilian medical services for doctors?

Mr. E. Brown

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friends the Service Ministers and the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have decided to set up a committee to investigate, in the light of the recommendations of the committee presided over by Sir Arthur Robinson, what further steps can usefully be taken to secure the utmost economy in the employment of medical personnel in His Majesty's Forces, the Emergency Hospital Scheme and the Civil Defence Services and all other medical services, including general practice, and to report from time to time what should be the allocation between these services of the available medical personnel. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Dominions has consented to act as chairman. It is proposed that the other members of the committee should consist of nine or ten medical men experienced in different types of work, and it is hoped that the Presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and the chairman of the Central Medical War Committee will be closely associated with the work of the committee. I will circulate the names of the members of the committee in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir F. Fremantle

While I am grateful for that reply, inasmuch as this has been a burning question which caused great hardship last winter, and may cause hardship next winter, can my right hon. Friend accelerate this matter and deal with it at once?

Mr. Brown

The committee will begin their work at once.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Will the Minister ask the committee to inquire into the difficulties of panel practice in connection with the National Health Insurance schemes? Doctors say they cannot possibly conduct their business.

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Gentleman will look at the terms of reference that I have announced, he will see that they are very wide.

Following is the list of members:

The hon. Member for Norwich, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Dominions (Mr. Geoffrey Shakespeare) (Chairman).

Professor R. M. F. Picken, M.B., B.Sc., D.P.H., Welsh National School of Medicine.

Sir Alfred Webb-Johnson, C.B.E., D.S.O., F.R.C.S., Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons.

J. Crighton Bramwell, Esq., M.D., F.R.C.P.

Professor Sydney Smith, M.D., F.R.C.P. (Ed.), D.P.H., F.R.S. (Ed.), Edinburgh University.

J. A. Brown, Esq., M.D.

William Malcolm Knox, Esq., M.B., Ch.B.

Medical representatives of the Admiralty, War Office and the Air Ministry.

In addition, the following have agreed to be closely associated with the work of the committee: —

Sir Charles Wilson, M.C., M.D., President of the Royal College of Physicians.

Sir Hugh Lett, Bt., C.B.E., President of the Royal College of Surgeons.

H. S. Souttar, Esq., C.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.S., Chairman of the Central Medical War Committee.