HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc1367-8
10. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what new action he proposes to take concerning the registration of overseas doctors.

Mr. Ennals

The arrangements for the registration of doctors with overseas qualifications were among the matters covered by the Merrison Committee on the regulation of the medical profession.

As my hon. Friend will now have seen from my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Shaw) yesterday, the Government accept in principle the committee's proposals for altering the legislation governing those arrangements.

Mr. Bidwell

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that information. Does he not agree that older doctors of Asian origin who qualified at the time of British administration overseas have been rather unfairly treated? If that is recognised, will he get a move on and alter the situation?

Mr. Ennals

Most overseas doctors in this country, who have made an extremely important contribution to the National Health Service, would, I am sure, share my view that proper standards must be maintained for doctors wishing to work in this country. We have become excessively dependent upon doctors from overseas, which is fair neither to them nor to the Health Service. I agree that some EEC directives put some of these doctors at a disadvantage. The Overseas Doctors Association has made representations to me and we are considering whether this is an issue which we can pursue formally with our Community colleagues.