HL Deb 28 October 1952 vol 178 cc1033-5

2.48 p.m.


My Lords, the object of these regulations is merely to carry out what was laid upon the General Medical Council under the Medical Act, 1950, which provided that they should prescribe a period of pre-registration service for doctors before they went into practice. As your Lordships will see, the period is twelve months. Your Lordships will remember that it was originally intended to prescribe a period of twelve months in the Bill itself. But this was changed by Amendment and was left to the General Medical Council who have, in fact, decided on twelve months as the period for which medical students should work in hospital as house officers before they are finally registered and go into general practice. I beg to move that this Order be approved.

Moved, That the Medical Act, 1950 (Period of Employment as House Officers) Regulations Approval Order of Council, 1952, reported from the Special Orders Committee on Wednesday last, be approved.—(The Earl of Onslow.)


My Lords, as, I believe, the only member of your Lordships' House, and certainly the only lay member in your Lordships' House, who is a member of the General Medical Council, perhaps I may say that this Order is the result of a good deal of study, negotiation and discussion with those concerned, and it is highly satisfactory to think that the matter has reached this stage.


My Lords, as one who took an active part in the debate on the Medical Act when it was before your Lordships' House, I should like to say how gratifying it is that these regulations should be submitted to your Lordships for Affirmative Resolution, rather than by drifting through in a spate of regulations open to attack only by a negative Motion. I am greatly comforted to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, said in regard to the careful study that has been given to this question. Our anxieties have been lest this regulation should be introduced before there was an assurance that the necessary posts would be available. There are other points which give rise to anxiety. After graduating, a medical student is able to secure provisional registration only when he succeeds in getting an appointment which will enable him to obtain the necessary twelve months' experience entitling him to permanent registration. One is naturally anxious that these men or women should not be helplessly drifting, and that they should immediately, or without undue delay, be posted to appointments which will give them the experience they require. So far as I can see, in Acts of Parliament up to date there is no provision by which this applicant for provisional registration can receive any remuneration. In the old days, when he was registered and waiting for a house appointment, until a vacancy arose a man could seek his living in some other sphere. I hope your Lordships will bear in mind the kind of difficulties which may arise and will keep a watchful eye on developments, so that these young graduates will not be submitted to a very irksome delay in attaining permanent registration so that they can earn their living.


My Lords, perhaps I might rise and satisfy the noble Lord on that point so far as I am able. In fact, arrangements have been made to meet this point. There is no doubt that the man in question will start to make his arrangements for a post as and when he expects to qualify, in the hope that he will in fact be successful in qualifying. The General Medical Council have published a list of approved house posts which, as your Lordships can see, is quite a formidable one and which I am informed gives every opportunity for the person concerned to find an adequate position when he qualifies and leaves the hospital medical school.


My Lords, I should like to say that the bulk of those concerned with medical administration in this country regard this procedure as a definite advance. It will improve the status of the profession; it will give the young doctor who has passed his qualifying examinations a period in which he will be, as it were, under surveillance but at the same time able to carry on his work as an individual. I believe that it will be found to be a very good thing for the medical profession and a very good thing for the young men starting on their career.

On Question, Motion agreed to.