HC Deb 17 February 1960 vol 617 cc1274-5
29. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will take steps to ensure that the fees due to appointed factory doctors for carrying out the periodic medical examination of juveniles required by the Factory Acts of 1937 and 1948 may, in future, he a charge on public funds.

Mr. P. Thomas

No, Sir. The Factories Acts provide for these fees to be paid by the employer of the young persons and my right hon. Friend would not consider it appropriate to amend the law to make the fees a charge on public funds.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

Does not my hon. Friend feel that, while fully recognising the desirability of these examinations and the necessity for safeguarding the health of young people in industry, the very considerable contribution to National Insurance paid by the employers should be sufficient to cover these extra charges, and would not such a practice be an actual encouragement to all firms to ensure that these examinations are regularly carried out?

Mr. Thomas

I take my hon. and gallant Friend's point, but the use of the National Health Service is a slightly different matter, because it is a personal medical service. The examination under the Factories Acts is part of the general responsibility of the employer for the safety, health and welfare of the people employed by him, and I see no good reason why that responsibility should be a charge on public funds.