§ Mr. Monslow
asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet any statement to make with regard to the legal committee, which he proposes to appoint, to advise him whether the National Health Service Act ought to be amended to secure an equitable result between partners in medical practice.
§ Mr. Bevan
Yes. I am glad to say that I have been fortunate enough to enlist the services of the following Gentlemen: Mr. G. O. Slade, K.C. (Chairman), Mr. Colin Pearson, C.B.E., Sir Cyril Radcliffe, K.C., Mr. J. H. Stamp and, from the Scottish Bar, Mr. J. R. Philip, K.C. The terms of reference are as followTo consider whether, in the application of the principles set out below to partnerships existing at the appointed day, it is desirable, in order to secure an equitable result as between partners, to amend Sections 35 and 36 of the National Health Service Act, 1946, either by clarification of the provisions thereof or by the extension of the powers thereby conferred or in some other way, and to make recommendations accordingly.24WThe principles above referred to are—
- (1) The general prohibition of the sale or purchase of the goodwill or any part of the goodwill of the medical practice of a medical practitioner whose name is on the appointed day or at any time thereafter entered on a list prepared under Section 33 (2) of the Act is to be maintained.
- (2) Compensation is to be paid on the lines set out in Section 36 to practitioners whose names are on the appointed day entered on any such list, and subject to the provisions of Section 37, to such practitioners only.
- (3) Practice in partnership is to be encouraged, and, except for the purpose of securing an equitable result, there should be as little interference as possible with the continued operation of existing partnerships.
- (4) Within the general principle of the prohibition of sale and purchases of goodwill, exceptions in relation to sales or purchase in pursuance of a partnership agreement existing at the appointed day are permissible, if they appear necessary to secure the equitable working of these principles in relation to doctors practising in partnership.
- (5) The possibility of legislation to make some addition to the sum of £66 million, for which provision is made in Section 36, in order to meet cases which might arise if doctors whose names were entered on a list at the appointed day were required, in pursuance of a partnership agreement existing at that date, to buy the goodwill of doctors whose names were not so entered, is not excluded if such an addition appears to be necessary in order to secure an equitable distribution of the £66 million between doctors whose names are entered on a list at the appointed day."