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Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration

Oral Answers to Questions — Welsh Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East 12:00 am, 19th November 1957

asked the Prime Minister whether he has directed the attention of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration to the Government's statement that increases of remuneration should be related to increases in productivity.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

No, Sir. The terms of reference of the Royal Commission are as I announced on 28th February.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

May I take it that Her Majesty's Government will not take the action in relation to doctors that they have recently taken with regard to the more junior staff in the Health Service?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The Royal Commission was appointed with certain terms of reference, upon which I do not intend to put any gloss, but I have no doubt that the Royal Commission has regard to the general movements of affairs, like any other people.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

Are we to understand from that reply that the Government are liable to impose a veto on any recommendations for changes in salary scales among doctors and dentists?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

No, Sir. Only the right hon. Gentleman would make so foolish an assumption.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

The Prime Minister, of course, is as usual rude and arrogant. Neither his answer nor his manner disposes of the issue here. I would ask him again, since a Royal Commission is investigating the whole question of doctors' and dentists' remuneration, whether he is prepared to give an assurance that the recommendations of such a Royal Commission will be considered on their merits by the Government and will not be rejected in the same manner as was the Health Service employees' application?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

If he will look at the terms of reference, the right hon. Gentleman will find that they are as follows: (a) How the levels of professional remuneration from all sources now received by doctors and dentists taking any part in the National Health Service compare with the remunerations received by members of other professions, by other members of the medical and dental professions, and by people engaged in connected occupations;(b) What, in the light of the foregoing, should be the proper current levels of remuneration of such doctors and dentists by the National Health Service;(c) Whether, and, if so, what, arrangements should be made to keep that remuneration under review… Those remain the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, but it would be foolish not to recognise the fact that the Royal Commission, I have no doubt like any other body of men, is cognisant of the general economic conditions of the country.