HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc951-2
1. Dr. Stuttaford

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied with the present system of medical examinations being carried out for the licensing of pilots.

The Minister for Aerospace and Shipping (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority.

Dr. Stuttaford

Is it not also a matter for the passengers and crew of the aircraft, some of whom may be our constituents? Are we not trying to use Tannochbrae medicine in the cockpit of a Boeing 747, and does my hon. Friend agree that we are not using the most sophisticated methods of medical examination? Is he, as the Minister responsible, allowing this state of affairs to continue?

Mr. Heseltine

Of course, my hon. Friend is correct in one respect. It is a matter of concern to the travelling public and to the crews, but the authority responsible for carrying out reviews of the method used is the Civil Aviation Authority. I have asked the chairman of the authority to consider as a matter of urgency whether any measures can be adopted which will deal with the situation that my hon. Friend has in mind.

Mr. Tebbit

Will my hon. Friend take note that he should not move from Tannochbrae medicine to panic brain medicine and that history shows that the success of medical examinations by the present methods has been very good over the last quarter of a century?

Mr. Heseltine

My hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Tebbit) has great expertise on this matter and he is correct. I think he will agree, however, that we must be constantly vigilant concerning this subject.