§ 46. Sir Henry Morris-Jones
asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of a recent decision of the High Court, he will consider reviewing the present constitution and powers of the General Medical Council.
47. Dr. Morģan
asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will consider introducing legislation to amend and reform the Medical Act of 1858, so as to give the General Medical Council a more democratic constitution, and especially to make provision for the hearing and investigation of unethical or unlawful charges against medical registered practitioners by an independent tribunal presided over by a judge, or consider the setting up of a Select Committee to review the functions of the present General Medical Council and consider any changes necessary in its constitution and procedure.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)
I have been asked to reply. I understand that the General Medical Council itself appointed a Committee in November, 1944, to consider the consolidation and amendment of the Medical Acts. I can therefore assure the hon. Members that the whole position is being examined and that the possibility of legislation at a suitable opportunity will be kept in mind.
§ Sir H. Morris-Jones
Whilst I make no reflection on the impartiality of this august body, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that there is grave doubt as to its competency to deal with the issues it has to decide upon? Will he inquire into the possibility of strengthening it on the general practitioner side, over which class of doctor it has virtually the power of ruin, on the uncorroborated evidence of neurotic women?
Is it right that the General Medical Council, itself the body which needs reform, should be asked to reform itself? Is this not a matter for the Government to take up to see that truant or errant doctors get full justice according to the law of the land?
Mr. Hector Huģhes
Is it not wrong in principle that the General Medical Council should be allowed to be judge in its own cause and to wreck the careers of people, as the previous questioner indicated, on inadequate evidence?
May I give notice that in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I propose to raise this matter as soon as I am successful in the ballot for the Adjournment?