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Medical Education

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1980

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asked the Prime Minister if she will transfer responsibility for medical education from the Department of Education and Science to the Department of Health and Social Security.

Is the Prime Minister aware that in the Flowers report, which was published today, there are proposals to close down several medical schools of merit and also several teaching hospitals? Is she also aware that the proposals include the closure of several institutions, including the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Institute of Paediatrics and Dental Surgery? Does she not think that the very far-reaching proposals in this report need adequate funding, and adequate discussion by this House and by all interested bodies outside? Will she give serious consideration to this?

I looked quickly through the Flowers report, sufficiently to know that before any opinion is ventured on it, it requires considerable study and consultation. I heard what the hon. Lady said to my hon. Friend the Minister for Health during Question Time and I assure her that this matter will be given full consideration.

Has the Prime Minister had time to reflect on the com- ments of Lord Justice Lawson to the effect that social security scroungers should be sent to gaol? Will she comment on my suggestion that we should ask neighbours to help the authorities in their inquiries?

My right hon. Friend is making strenuous efforts to bring to the courts any who are alleged to be fraudulent in claiming social security benefits to which they are not entitled. When they get to the courts it is a matter for the judge to decide what sentence should be passed.

Will the Prime Minister take time today to study the comments made by the retiring chairman of the Inland Revenue, who estimates that there is a loss of £2,000 million to £3,00e million in tax evasion—

Order. This is not an open question. I shall call the hon. Member when we reach the next question, which is an open question.