HC Deb 08 June 1944 vol 400 cc1510-1
59. Dr. Russell Thomas

asked the Minister of Health how frequently routine and special inspections of voluntary hospitals participating in a national health scheme will take place.

Mr. Willink

No, Sir. Details of the arrangements for inspections are clearly matters to be considered at a later stage.

Dr. Thomas

Is it not clear that the inspection of voluntary hospitals is calculated to be the first step towards the servitude of these great and free institutions?

Mr. Willink

No. I am sure that if the system of visit and inspection is well devised all hospitals will welcome it.

60. Dr. Russell Thomas

asked the Minister of Health if he has estimated what average proportion the Exchequer grant and the payments of joint local authorities towards the cost of maintenance and treatment of patients would be to the total cost of such maintenance and treatment of patients in voluntary hospitals participating in a national health scheme.

Mr. Willink

No, Sir. In the White Paper it was contemplated that, in the hospitals' interests, the aggregate of the central and local payments would be such as still to leave an opportunity for voluntary support. How this may best be arranged remains for discussion with the hospitals' representatives.

Dr. Thomas

In view of the fact that legacies and gifts to hospitals are already falling off since the publication of the White Paper is it not clear, too, that the under-payment of public funds will destroy public generosity altogether and complete the process towards servitude to which I have just referred?

Mr. Willink

The hon. Member may not have noticed that the British Hospitals Association themselves seem to think that an opportunity for voluntary support is desirable.

63. Dr. Howitt

asked the Minister of Health in view of the postponement of the annual representative meeting of the British Medical Association at the request of the Government, will he give an assurance that legislation on a national health service will not be introduced by him until after negotiations have taken place between him and the medical profession, bearing in mind that under its constitution only the representative body of the association can determine the policy of the British Medical Association.

Mr. Rhy Davies

On a point of Order. May I call your attention, Sir, to the matter contained in this Question, where it is suggested that Parliament should abandon, its work of legislation merely because the annual conference of the British Medical Association has been postponed? Are we to shut down altogether in view of the fact that so many conferences have been postponed?

Mr. Speaker

That has nothing to do with me. Any hon. Member can put down any Question he likes.

Mr. Willink

My hon. Friend will appreciate that I cannot give an assurance quite so absolute as he suggests. It is still my wish to have full discussions with the profession before introducing legislation, and I see no reason why I should be prevented from doing so by the delay which will be caused by the profession's inevitable postponement of its conference.

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