§ THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE moved that the Bill be read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Donoughmore.)
§ LORD BELPER
I should like to ask the noble Earl the Leader of the House whether he has looked into the point to which I called his attention on a previous stage with regard to the obligation on a parent to submit his child for medical inspection.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE EARL OF CREWE)
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord for having raised this point which, your Lordships may remember, came up at an earlier stage of the consideration of the measure. I understand that there was in another place the fear, groundless as it appears, that some change of the law might appear to be made by this Bill in respect to this question of medical inspection. There is no doubt that under the law as it stands, which, I believe, was made clear when a clause instituting medical inspection was under consideration both in the year 1906 and 1907, the school 245 authorities cannot compel the subjection of any child to medical inspection should its parents definitely object. Therefore this clause does nothing more than declare the law as it stands. I think, however, it is desirable to state that as a matter of fact the point is not of much importance. Parents, I am glad to think, have not objected to medical inspection. On the contrary, as time goes on, they are becoming more and more convinced of its value. In fact, the very few isolated cases in which any single parent has made an objection has been where they have got it into their heads that the medical inspection has not been strictly medical, but has been done to serve some other purpose. In all cases where inspection has been given, they have been quite satisfied. As I say the fact that the law is thus declared is of no practical importance, and certainly will have no effect in diminishing this extremely valuable medical inspection.
§ LORD BELPER
I am much obliged to the noble Earl for his explanation. I have no Motion to make in regard to the matter, and I only hope that what the noble Earl has indicated will be the case, and that the fact that now it is advertised in this Bill that it is perfectly clear that a parent cannot be compelled to have his child medically inspected unless he wishes, will not have any effect in making greater difficulties and in interfering with the carrying out of a law which has been so very useful, and which is making such great improvements in the, health of the children.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed.