HC Deb 22 July 1946 vol 425 cc1697-9
Mr. Key

I beg to move, in page 19, line i6, to leave out "or," and to insert: (e) for the provision of the services of specialists or other services provided for outpatients under Part II of this Act; or. The purpose of the Amendment is to meet a point raised in Committee. It was pointed out that the activities of the health centres were too restricted because they did not make provision for services connected with the outpatient work of the hospitals, and for the specialist services. The Amendment is designed to secure that health centres provided by local health authorities may be used for specialist and other purposes connected with outpatient work.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

The Amendment will be a material improvement. It astonishes me that the Government did not think of it before, and that it was necessary for as to drag it out of them. It might have been put in during the Committee stage. But for tins Amendment there would be a very great hole in the Bill. It would have been impossible for health centres to be used for the services of specialists. When a fundamental point like this is not included in the Bill and is not accepted by the Government during the Committee stage, a rather lurid light is thrown on the lack of preparation with which the Bill was presented.

Mr. Bevan

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite wrong. All that we are doing is to make dear what we considered were the powers under the Bill. I think I made it clear in the Committee that it is the intention that specialists should move quite freely, not only to health centres but also to the homes of patients who require specialist attention. We want not only that specialists may visit health centres, but to make it clear that there is an obligation under the Bill to provide domiciliary specialist services, where they are necessary. Therefore, the criticisms and admonitions of the right hon. and learned Gentleman are entirely unnecessary. All we are doing is to try to make clear what was ambiguous in the mind of the right hon. and learned Gentleman but was clear to everybody else.

Mr. Reid

I think that if the right hon. Gentleman will consult any of his hon. Friends who are accustomed to dealing with Acts of Parliament he will find that he has only a very shadowy case.

Mr. Messer (Tottenham, South)

I would call the attention of the Committee to the provisions of Subsection (1) of Clause 38, which states: It shall be the duty of every Executive Council…to make…arrangements with medical practitioners for the provision by them as from the appointed day, whether at a health centre or otherwise, of personal medical services for all persons in the area who wish to take advantage of the arrangements.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.