HC Deb 01 April 1946 vol 421 cc826-7
63. Mr. R. S. Hudson

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to make a statement with regard to the recommendations of the Loveday Committee on Veterinary Education and of the Chancellor Committee on Veterinary Practice of Unregistered Persons.

Mr. T. Williams

The Government welcome, in principle, the recommendations made by the Loveday Committee on Veterinary Education in Great Britain and by the Chancellor Committee on Veterinary Practice by Unregistered Persons, on some of which discussions have taken place with interested bodies. Accordingly, it is intended as soon as practicable to introduce legislation—

  1. (a) empowering the Privy Council, after consultation with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries or the Secretary of State for Scotland (as the case may be) and with the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, to authorise a university to confer degrees which shall entitle the holders to registration with the R.C.V.S. as veterinary surgeons.;
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  3. (b) providing for the reconstitution of the Council of the R.C.V.S. broadly on the lines proposed by the Loveday Committee;
  4. (c) providing for that Council to exercise agreed powers of inspection of teaching facilities and examinations at all veterinary teaching centres; and
  5. (d) dealing with the subject of veterinary practice by unregistered persons on the general lines proposed by the Chancellor Committee.
The Loveday Committee also recommended greatly improved veterinary educational facilities, involving considerable capital expenditure and additional annual expenditure. The Government recognise the need for such improved facilities and will be prepared to provide substantially increased financial assistance to veterinary education. It will not be practicable to introduce legislation immediately but this announcement will, it is hoped, help the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the universities concerned to begin making their plans. In the meantime, discussions will be continuing on outstanding points.

Mr. Hudson

While congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on having brought to a conclusion these long negotiations, which started some five years ago, may I ask him whether, in view of the probability of delay in passing a Bill owing to the pressure of business, there is any possibility of getting the universities to start courses this year instead of waiting until next year, in view of the shortage of veterinary surgeons today?

Mr. Williams

We are in discussion with the universities and with the Royal College, and I am hopeful that they will start to make arrangements at a very early date.

Mr. Clement Davies

Is it proposed to provide a college for veterinary education in Wales, in connection with the Welsh university?

Mr. Williams

I am afraid I cannot answer my hon. and learned Friend offhand, although I doubt it.