The Coming Election: Direct Representation on the General Medical Council

1897 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
The CHAIRMAN said that he would merely remind the meeting that a dozen years ago Sir Walter Foster was their candidate on the General Medical Council. He worked for ten years heartily, and not unsuccessfully, notably in the improvement and the extension of the terms of medical education, and the suppression of irregular practice in all its forms, and hal been largely instrumental in drafting the penal procedures of the General Medical Council. In all other matters interesting to the profession
more » ... e had always been found an advocate of Judicious reform, or rather a judicious advocate of reform. That was a great reason why they should re-elect him. Yesterday he came upon two statements which the meeting would immediately recognise as-soon as he read them, of a very distinguished man whom he would like to have seen 'present, as one of their supporters, and whom he would have liked to vote for by-and-bye as a colleague of Sir Walter's on the General Medical Council. That gentleman said that he had been driven to the conclusion that the prospect of advancing medical reform depends more upon the previous training of the representatives than upon the fact of their belonging to one particular section of the profession. It is obvious that an intimate personal acquaintance with the methods, laws, and procedures of the Council should be combined with a knowledge of the many pressing needs of the profession." Those were the weighty words of wisdom uttered by no less a man than Mr. Victor Horsley. What better training could a man have, and what greater confidence in his own knowledge of the laws, than a service on the Council of ten years? and they were advocating the claims of a man who had had that training and possessed that knowledge. Sir WALTER FoSTER, on rising to address the meeting, was heartily received. He first of all thanked those present for coming in such numbers. He believed the present meeting was one of the largest of the kind that had ever been held in any part of the United Kingdom; it was therefore a meeting that called forth at once his liveliest expression of gratitude and thanks. He was there to speak with reference to the General Medical Council, and the policy which he should be prepared to carry out if he was honoured again by the support of the profession as a direct representative. He might say that he had come forward at the present time because he believed it was an exceptionally grave crisis in the history of direct representation. He retired from the Council at the last general election for reasons that he would not go into then, but he would be happy to explain them to any gentleman if desired. They were reasons that were good to Mr. Wheelhouse and himself, and they were glad to lay down the burden of the work. Since that time he had received some remarkable expressions of opinion from the profession. Numerous friends from all parts of the country had expressed their regret that he had severed his connection with the General Medical Council. Those expressions of regret had become so frequent that they had almost sounded to him like reproaches, and he began to feel that he had done something quite wrong in not going on with the work. When he came back from Canada last Thursday afternoon, and heard of the great crisis in the history of direct representation, he foutid telegrams and letters urging him to stand. When he went to consult some of his trusted friends, he founJ that they were without a candidate, and they urged him to fight the battle for them once again. He felt under those circumstances, considering what he owed to the medical profession, and that he was still a comparatively young man that it would have been wrong of him not to be willing to come forward and do the work the profession wished him to do in its interests. With reference to his policy, he thought they had all received his Address. The policy would be very much the same as the one he had tried to carry out, and did carry out, as far as was possible on the General Medical Council during the ten years he had Ferved there. He thought one of the most honourable records he could have as a direct representative on the General Medical Council would be to say that when there was a question of the interests of the general profession at stake, as opposed to the corporations, he was nearly always in the minority, as his colleagues were also. They fought the battle of the profession in that Council for ten years. They could not obtain OCT. 2, 1897.J
doi:10.1136/bmj.2.1918.927 fatcat:qhyegrtgxrfnnjktbjfk75ywdm