Clause 7. — (Removal of Hardships.)

Part of Orders of the Day — National Health Service (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th December 1949.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East 12:00 am, 9th December 1949

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is merely to enable the Minister to make regulations adding to the functions of the Medical Practices Committee. Those functions, as already set out, in relation to the distribution of doctors are at present limited by statute to granting applications by doctors not already on the medical list for inclusion in that specific list. This has resulted in some practical difficulties. For example, where several doctors may apply to fill a vacancy, it might be held that the Medical Practices Committee are only strictly concerned with applications which come from outside the area in which the vacancy occurs, whereas obviously it is desirable, and has indeed been the practice, for the Medical Practices Committee to consider applications from wherever they may come, and make their decision upon the qualities of the applicants.

There are one or two other cases where experience has shown that an extension of functions might be desirable. For example, in England and Wales the view is taken that a doctor whose application to employ an assistant is refused by the executive council, as it might properly be, should have the right of appeal; and it seems to us that the Medical Practices Committee should have the power of determining such appeals. These matters have had the full consideration of the medical profession and I can give the assurance that any other similar widening of the powers and functions of the Medical Practices Committee would receive the consideration of the medical profession before any changes in regulations were proposed.