HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc22-3
24. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Health why the names of doctors fined by executive councils of the National Health Service for neglect of duty are not published.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Because the procedure, which is thought to reflect the balance of the public interest, does not so provide except where a doctor is excluded by a decision of the National Health Service Tribunal from practising in the service.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not quite wrong that a doctor who is so negligent, sometimes at the expense of human life, that he has to be fined, should be protected by having his name kept secret? Is there any larger section of the community which gets a similar degree of privilege and protection, especially in a public service?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Rather special considerations arise on this. The procedure followed is substantially that which operated in the days of the National Health Insurance. It was a procedure which operated in the days of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and his right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand). They may all be wrong and the hon. Gentleman may be right, but, on the other hand, it may be the other way round.

Dr. Stross

Is the Minister aware that there is no section of the public which gives so devoted a service to their fellow men as does this group?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Without entering into comparisons, I am sure the whole House will agree with the value and devotion of the work done by the medical profession, and I would remind the House that this is the procedure which commends itself to the profession as a whole.