HC Deb 08 May 1984 vol 59 cc719-20
2. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are now his intentions regarding amendments to the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine, in particular as applied to chiropody.

The Minister for Health (Mr. Kenneth Clarke)

We continue to have discussions with the Council and with bodies representing both registered and unregistered practitioners on the question of protection of professional titles, including chiropodist. However, the response to our previous consultation document showed that there is no clear consensus or common ground on the subject between the professions concerned. We have no intention of legislating at the moment.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the Minister reconsider that answer in the light of the situation regarding chiropody and take steps to ensure that the general public are aware of the chiropodist who has the full four years' training and is therefore qualified to treat the patient, and the unqualified people who are treating at present without the right to do so?

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

I entirely share the hon. Member's concern that members of the public should know exactly the qualifications of the people with whom they are dealing, and then make their choice of a suitable practitioner. However, all attempts to reach agreement on this have led to professional rivalries and disagreements, and we certainly must not put out of practice many unregistered chiropodists who at present give every satisfaction to their patients.

Mr. David Atkinson

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread mistrust and lack of confidence in the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine of the alternative medical professions, and is this not itself a good reason why the Government should now embark upon their own fair and impending inquiry into alternative medicine?

Mr. Clarke

I always encourage practitioners of alternative medicine to make application to the council to seek registration, or whatever they require for their profession. The problem is that the council deals with contentious subjects, over which it is impossible to achieve professional agreement.