The Socialist Doctor 3

May 1932.

Editorial Notes

Last month we were unable to issue ‘The Socialist Doctor’ but new arrangements have been made and it is hoped to have a regular publication date about the middle of each month.

On the following pages will be found details of the Annual General Meeting to be held on May 28th and 29th. This is by far the most important meeting yet held by the Association and it is hoped to reach a considerable unanimity on the scheme for State Medical Service.

Meanwhile we are gaining an increasing and valuable publicity not only in the Press, but among medical men and Societies. We look to every member to do what he or she can in this direction.

The London County Council, who now control the largest group of Municipal Hospitals in the world are coming in for much criticism from upholders of the Voluntary Hospitals. Foremost among these critics is Sir E. Graham-Little, M.P., whose controversial methods are well known to the profession. His attack on the L.C.C. Laboratory Scheme has enabled some interesting facts to be put before the public, and he has certainly not had the best of the argument.

Debate at Paddington

One of the largest and most important discussions on a State Medical Service yet held took place on April 12th at Paddington Medical Society when about twenty different speakers took part in a debate. The subject was opened by our President, Mr. Somerville Hastings who was opposed by Sir E. Graham-Little, MP., Mr. Hastings briefly outlined the defects of our present medical service and claimed that some form of State Service was inevitable. It was therefore imperative that the profession should be ready with a scheme, otherwise the politicians might force upon medical men something they would be unwilling to accept. Whatever the scheme it must be advantageous alike to the profession, to the service of medicine and to the public.

Sir Ernest Graham-Little contended that the British Medical Association had rushed forward a scheme so as to forestall a plan which the late Labour Government had in preparation. Personally, he saw very little difference between the two, and he did not regard a State Service as inevitable. He believed it would not be to the advantage of medical progress.

Dr. G.C. Anderson of the British Medical Association disagreed with both speakers, but could go a little way with Mr. Hastings because he believed that the State must continue to develop medical service. The British Medical Association scheme was intended to show the lines on which the service should develop and they were especially keen to see that insurance practice approximated as nearly as possible to private practice.

Dr. Welply, of our Executive Committee, claimed that the State must provide a service giving the widest possible facilities of preventive and curative medicine to those who, without state assistance, would be unable to obtain them. For his own part he thought the scheme should take in every one. He did not believe that a municipal hospital was more wasteful than a voluntary hospital, which was the most wasteful machinery he had ever come across.

This point was taken up by a variety of speakers, and the discussion went on for so long that only a few minutes was available for the two openers to reply. Mr. Hastings claimed that just as much free choice of doctor would be possible under a State Medical Service as at present. He did not see why a hospital committee managing a municipal hospital should be any less efficient than the governing body of a voluntary institution. Sir E. Graham-Little closed the debate by maintaining that the fact was that voluntary hospital management was more efficient than that of the municipal hospitals.



Saturday, May 28th 1932

at 5 p.m. Routine business, reports, elections, etc.,

at 7.15 p.m. First Annual Dinner

Among the guests will be the Rt . Hon. Arthur Greenwood, M.P., Mr. A. Fenner Brockway, Mr. J. Bromley (Chairman T.U.C.) Mr. J. Middleton (Assistant Secretary, Labour Party) and Miss Sylvia Pankhurst.

Sunday, May 29th 1932

at 10 – 1 p.m. and 2 – 4 p.m.

1)President’s address.

2)Report of Research Sub-Committee

at 4 p.m. Tea.

at 5.15 p.m. Lecture by Dr. Salter, M.P., “Health Propaganda”.

Executive Notes

The Agenda has already been circulated along with all necessary reports. The summary given above does not really indicate how much there is to be done, but the Executive consider there will be enough time to get through it all.

The Research Sub-Committee’s scheme will require close study, and the Executive have already considered some additions and amendments put forward by members. These will come up for discussion at the Annual General Meeting.

The most immediate need of the Association is to increase its membership. During the year there has been an increase in the number of members, but it is not large enough. Medical men are always too loath to join political organisations, and it will only be by the personal effort of our members that they will be persuaded to join the S.M.A.

Last year the annual subscription was reduced, but the Treasurer reports that even at the lower figure there are still a number unpaid. The money is needed if we are to continue our work.