HC Deb 06 March 1961 vol 636 cc26-7
44. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health if he will advise the setting up of a Royal Commission on medical education in Great Britain.

Mr. Powell

No, Sir. The General Medical Council, which is responsible for maintaining the standards of medical education, published revised recommendations on the medical curriculum in 1957, after extensive consultations with the other bodies concerned with medical education and practice. I understand that it has recently received from medical schools reports on the implementation of these recommendations and that these are being considered.

Mr. Robinson

Even allowing for these recommendations, is not medical teaching in this country now many years behind that in the United States and many European countries, and does the Minister realise that that view is shared by many younger doctors and medical students and most psychiatrists because it is particularly backward in the teaching of psychological medicine? If any improvement is to be made, must not some initiative come from him, because it is no use leaving the matter in the hands of just those leaders of the medical profession who are responsible for the out-of-date curricula which we have?

Mr. Powell

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the responsibility of the Minister of Health for medical education is necessarily and deliberately extremely limited. I have no reason to doubt that the General Medical Council's recommendations took full account of the need for expansion in psychological medicine, and this will be reflected in the results it is now considering.

Mr. Abse

Does the Minister recognise that so laggard is medical education in Wales that, despite more than a decade of pressure from the regional hospital board, we are still without a chair and department of psychiatry? Will he continue to take action to carry forward what has been indicated as necessary by the Minister for Welsh Affairs and ensure that medical students in Wales can have a proper education in psychiatry?

Mr. Powell

I think that that is not a question for me.

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