HC Deb 21 April 1958 vol 586 c617
48. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health what is the size of the Committee on Merit Awards to Consultants of which Lord Moran is the chairman; and how many of its members are psychiatrists.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Fourteen, besides the Chairman and the lay Vice-Chairman. None is a psychiatrist.

Mr. Robinson

Without necessarily drawing the conclusion that the abysmally low number of merit awards to psychiatrists is connected with their non-representation on the Committee, does not the Minister agree that this important specialty should be represented on the Committee? If the Royal College of Physicians is unwilling to nominate a psychiatrist, will the Minister instruct the Committee to seek nominations from the Royal Medico Psychological Association?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, Sir. In this matter I follow the recommendations of the Spens Report, that the members of the awards committee should be appointed from nominations made by the Royal Colleges, the Scottish Royal Corporations, the Medical Research Council and the universities. The nominations of those bodies are in personal capacities and not representative of specialties.

Dr. Summerskill

Can the Minister state whether his answer means that the Chairman has the same view of psychiatrists as he has of general practitioners?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I cannot answer for the personal views of the Chairman, but I think that it would be very unwise for the House to read any such implication into my answer.