HC Deb 18 April 1946 vol 421 cc2882-3
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?

Mr. Ede

I will pass the hon. Gentleman's observations to my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.

Dr. Morģan

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. Ede

I should have thought self-reform was always a desirable occupation for anybody, but I will suggest to my right hon. Friend that my hon. Friend thinks that a little stimulus from outside might assist in the process.

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?

Mr. Ede

The general powers of this bock are, I understand, under review. I will draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the views expressed by the hon. and learned Member.

Dr. Morģan

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?

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