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The Times (London).
17 March 1879


On Friday a deputation from the Obstetrical Society of London had an interview with the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, at the Privy Council Office, to ask him to make the 25th clause of the new Medical Bill compulsory instead of permissive. The clause in question relates to the establishment of rules and regulations for the education, examination, and regulation of midwives for the poor throughout the kingdom. Among the deputation were Dr. Lyon Playfair, M.P., Sir Charles Russell, M.P., Dr. W.S. Playfair (president), and Dr. John Williams and Dr. Gordon (hon. secretaries). Dr. Lyon Playfair introduced the deputation, which urged that their society was the first to direct attention to the great need which existed for legislation respecting the licensing and registration of women practising as midwives, and with that view drew up a series of suggestions, which were laid before the General Council of Medical Education to be embodied in a future scheme; but they felt that the scheme was too permissive. The Bill said that if any person or Corporation chose to submit a scheme to the Medical Council, the matter might, if they liked, lay that scheme before the Privy Council; but it was not likely that either an individual or a corporation would take the trouble to do so. They further asked that the scheme should be made applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom, and not, as at present designed, only to portions of the United Kingdom. If this were not done, they ventured to assert that no real practical benefit would accrue from legislation on the subject. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, in reply, promised to look into the proposals.

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