HC Deb 21 July 1958 vol 592 cc11-2
8. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet completed his investigation into the complaint against an optician in Pontefract made in a letter from a constituent of the hon. Member for Goole; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. R. Thompson

I have ascertained the facts and, as the reply would be rather long, I have written to the hon. Member.

Mr. Jeger

In thanking the Minister for the long and detailed letter I received from him this morning, which I hope will settle the case, may I ask whether he is aware that my purpose in putting down the Question following my letter to him was to ensure that no action would be taken against either my constituent or myself concerning the rather serious complaint that was made?

Dr. Summerskill

This is a serious matter. In view of the fact that my hon. Friend has been compelled to cover himself and his letter to the Minister by putting down a Question on the Order Paper, does this mean that having regard to the fact that a charge, no doubt, of unprofessional behaviour was made against the optician, if my hon. Friend had not put down the Question both he and his constituent would be vulnerable to a legal action?

Mr. Thompson

That is not a question for me. All that was at issue in this case was whether the prescription for the glasses was the right one. It seems a proper matter for inquiry.

Dr. Summerskill

The Parliamentary Secretary is fond of evading the question. Can he give an undertaking that this was a question only of refraction—whether the glasses were the right ones—or was there implied in the letter a reflection on the optician?

Sir G. Nicholson

On a point of order. Surely, when a Minister has answered a Question on the Paper, questions of this sort go far beyond it.

Mr. Speaker

Questions raising matters of Privilege are not the responsibility of the hon. Gentleman who is answering the Question.