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Medical Services (Inquiry)

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 1 June 1949

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I desire, Sir, with your permission, to make a statement.

The Government have recently been considering the relationship between the National Health Service and the various health services at present provided in industry which make a call on medical manpower. In order to secure that the country's limited medical resources are used to the best advantage and with due regard to economy, it is essential that these services should be organised in such a way as to ensure that there is no duplication or misdirection of effort.

I have, therefore, appointed to advise the Government on this matter, a committee, whose members are drawn from the industrial field, including both the management and the trade union sides, and various branches of the medical profession. Judge E. T. Dale has agreed to act as its Chairman and I am circulating the names of the members and the Committee's terms of reference in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I should like to take this opportunity to suggest to all branches of industry that in view of this inquiry substantial further development of industrial health services should, as far as possible, be postponed until the Committee's recommendations are available.

In view of the last suggestion, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he has formed any estimate of the length of time which the committee will require to survey its wide field, and to report?

I should hope that the committee will not take very long, but I cannot answer in any detail.

Will there be upon this committee a representative of small factories, so that proper consideration can be given to the organisation of this scheme for the small factories?

Perhaps the hon. Member will look at the list which is being circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Will the scheme apply to the Admiralty and War Office industrial establishments where there are medical services attended by Service doctors?

I am not aware of that, but I should think that the committee will take into consideration all industrial medical services.

Would the Prime Minister consider whether he will widen the scope of the inquiry so that the medical services of the Ministry of Pensions and the Ministry of Education can also be included and so avoid duplication?

In view of the way in which the National Health Service is becoming completely over-burdened, is it not important to the welfare and health of the workers of this country that the industrial health services should be preserved?

I am quite well aware of that. The point is that we do not want to have overlapping.

The Committee's terms of reference are:

"To examine the relationship (including any possibility of overlapping) between the preventive and curative health services provided for the population at large and the industrial health services which make a call on medical manpower (doctors, nurses and auxiliary medical personnel); to consider what measures should be taken by the Government and the other parties concerned to ensure that such medical manpower is used to the best advantage; and to make recommendations."

The members of the Committee are:

  • Judge E. T. Dale (Chairman),
  • Mr. John T. Byrne, Electrical Trades Union,
  • Dr. T. A. Lloyd Davies, M.D., M.R.C.P., Chief Medical Officer, Boots Pure Drug Co.,
  • Mr. R. R. Hyde, M.V.O., Director, Industrial Welfare Society,
  • Dr. Walter Jope, M.B., Ch.B.,
  • Mr. K. I. Julian, Chairman, South-East Metropolitan Hospital Board,
  • Dame Anne Loughlin, D.B.E., former Chairman, T.U.C.,
  • Mr. J. H. Pheazey, Standard Telephones Ltd.,
  • Dr. L. Roberts, M.D., M.R.C.P., D.P.H., Medical Officer of Health, Sheffield.
  • Dr. A. T. Rogers, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.,
  • Sir Geoffrey Vickers, V.C., National Coal Board.

The joint secretaries of the Committee are Mr. F. W. Beek, Ministry of Health, and Mr. C. H. Sisson, Ministry of Labour and National Service.