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The Evening Star FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1889., Issue 7945, 28 June 1889
The Evening Star FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1889.
The Government have announced their intention of in-
Tho Medical k twtoclng during tho Practitioner* Alii, current session a mca-
sure of great importance alike to tho medical profession and to the public, and which, if it become law, will doubtless cause considerable influence on legislation in regard to the registration of medical qualifications, in the sister colonies. The Bill has been before the New Zealand Medical Association for three years, and it therefore may be taken to represent the views of the profession on the subject. It follows tlie lines of the Imperial Medical Acts, but has an advantage over the latter in that it codifies all its beneficial provisions that are suitable to tho requirements of this Colony, and is more liberal as regards colonial and foreign diplomas that may bo brought under it for recognition. The main object of the Bill is to ensure that applicants for registration shall have had at least as high a medical training as is required by the University of Now Zealand for its medical degree. It would be obviously unfair to the graduates of our medical schools, if persons who may have obtained the M.D. of some doubtful college—say in one of the border States in America, after an imperfect course of two or three years were allowed to bo registered on equal terms with those who had undergone a longer and much higher course of medical education. Very properly, however, the Bill has not been made retrospective, so that all practitioners on the existing medical register will be entitled to registration under the provisions of this measure. It is proposed to establish a General Council of Medical Education and Registration, with powers very similar to those possessed by the General Medical Council of Great Britain, and this Council will be empowered to draw up lists of colleges or universities whose diplomas they may consider worthy of recognition. All practitioners on the Imperial register will, of course, be entitled to registration here, but applicants not on the Imperial register, who hail from
countries where a State qualification is required, must have such State qualification, in addition to any collegate degree that they may possess. For all applicants a four years’ course of medical study will be required, proceeded by a preliminary examination in arts, equivalent to that prescribed by the New Zealand University for students of medicine in this Colony. The tendency of the Bill, when it passes into law, will be, we feel sure, to raise the standard of medical education throughout the colony, and for that reason we hope it will receive favorable consideration from the Legislature. It will be seen that no applicant with a medical education inferior to that imparted by the University of New Zealand can be registered, whilst any persons possessing a higher qualification than that who may present themselves will without doubt be highly welcome, as we cannot have amongst us too many medical men who have achieved success or marked distinction in their academic course or in the practice of their profession. We observe that provision is made against the assumption by unqualified persons of titles, which have become by right or usage “medical titles,” as “doctor,” “surgeon,” “specialist,” “professor,” “consuland the Medical Council are authorised to erase from the register the name of any person appearing thereon, who has been convicted of specific crimes. The only serious opposition to, the Bill that wc have heard of comes from some Christchurch chemists, who seem to fear that their “counter prescribing” may be interfered with, and they have actually drafted a clause by which their “ right ” to prescribe in this way
will bo recognised. This proposal, if adopted, would certainly afford an easy backdoor to the medical profession. The spirit of the UuV in all Englishspeaking countries is that anyone may prescribe for or treat anyone else, but only those possessing legal medical qualifications can hold public medical appointments, or receive charges for medical services rendered. The usages of chemists in regard to their “ counter practice ” will not be affected by this Bill—a fact that was pointed out a few months ago in Shakland’s ‘Trade Journal,’ which had an editorial highly laudatory of the measure; and we understand that the principal chemists of this City have expressed themselves satisfied that it in no way impitiges on. their Usages. The point is, Vve think, made sufficiently clear by Clause 78, which reads : “Nothing “in this Act shall extend, or be con* “ strued to extend, to prejudice in any “ way, or to affect the lawful occupa- “ tion, trade, or business of chemists, “druggists, or dentists.” We repeat our opinion that the Bill, if passed, will prove a distinct benefit to itll classes Of the community, if it only prevents adventurers of the “golden chariot ” type from scouring the country ar d draining it of thousands
of pounds, under quasi - medical titles. At the same time, the measure does not pretend to cope with tho serious evil of quackery. The promoters of the Bill evidently regard that as a Herculean task. The exaction by quacks of large lump suras, under promise of certain cure in so many weeks, could only be dealt with under the criminal law as offences coming within the category of “obtaining money under false pretences.” But this Bill will at all events prevent the shameless display of such qualifications save the mark !as “W. Ainslie, M.D., MC.H.L.K. Q.C.P.1.L.0.P.5.0.P.T.5.M. !” which appeared in an Australian newspaper we have seen, and concerning the history of whom and of similar traders on the credulity of their follow-creatures some startling evidence was given before a Royal Commission that investigated the subject in Sydney a few years since.
The Evening Star FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1889., Issue 7945, 28 June 1889
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