March 1932.

B.M.A. Branch Supports the Establishment of a State Medical Service.

A Debate on ‘A State Medical Service” was held at a Meeting of the Colchester Branch of the British Medical Association on January 28th.

Mr. Somerville Hastings, M.S. (ex-M-P.) opened the debate in support of a State Service. Mr. W.J. O’Donovan, M.P., led for the opposition.

It was contended by the opponents of a State Service that its establishment would lead to the disappearance of the Family Doctor, that its cost would be prohibitive and that the personal factor in the practice of medicine would vanish. Mr. Hastings in replying dealt specially with these points.

At the close of the Debate a vote was taken. The result was 9 for and 7 against, while there were several abstentions. It was interesting to note that in the main, the younger members of the Branch supported the motion.

The congratulations of the Socialist Medical Association are due to Dr. Ruth Bensusan-Butt for arranging this Debate.

Members of the Association who also belong to the B.M.A. are asked to use their influence to arrange debates and discussions of a similar character.

The result of the Debate at Colchester clearly shows that although the S.M.A. is not numerically strong in membership, it can exercise a very powerful influence by outside propaganda. There are undoubtedly a very large number of members of the medical profession who, while not for the moment prepared to accept all the principles of the S.M.A, are at least favourable to any proposals for the establishment of a State Service. A lead from the Association will do much to strengthen their opinions.

The Second Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held at the National Labour Club on Saturday, May 28th, and Sunday, May 29th.

The Opening Session will commence at 5 p.m. and the more formal business will then be disposed of.

A Dinner will follow, at which a prominent leader of the Labour Movement will be the chief guest.

On Sunday morning the principal business of the Meeting will be undertaken, viz., the consideration of the report of the Research Sub-Committee, and the framing of the future policy of the Association.

It is hoped that as far as possible hospitality will be arranged for those members of the Association who reside in the Provinces and who desire to attend the Annual Meeting, and in order to facilitate arrangements they are asked to notify the Secretary of the Association at their earliest convenience.

The Research Sub-Committee of the Association has, since the commencement of the year, been meeting at fortnightly intervals. During the past month, memoranda by Mr. Somerville Hastings and by Dr. F.G. Bushnell have been considered.

The Socialist Workers’ National Health Council.

(from Dr.P.G.Bushnell).

Socialist workers keenly interested in the socialisation of the National Health, in its constructive, preventive and curative aspects, formed themselves a year ago Into a National Council with district committees, to co-ordinate socialist forces against the vast vested professional, trade and political interests which exploit workers’ lives, health and sickness, for profit or for power.

The ultimate goal of the S.W.N.H.C. is a socialist policy and scheme for the establishment of a National Medical and Allied Service, which will afford the best and fullest benefit of medical and allied sciences, free and open and utilised by all. This can only be evolved if it is founded on sure socialist foundations by years of effort and sacrifice. Naturally, the final control of the Socialist National Health Medicine will rest with the workers whose lives it directly concerns, whereas, the Medical and Allied services would be authoritative expert advisers in their technical sphere and medical and allied science supreme in its special province.

Members of the Socialist Medical Association and all Socialists interested in health, are invited to attend the First Annual General Meeting of the Socialist Workers’ National Health Council on March 12th, at 3 p.m. at Friends’ House, Euston Road, London, N.W.

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