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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 5. May 7, 1946

—And Criticizes B.M.A. for Obstructive Tactics

And Criticizes B.M.A. for Obstructive Tactics

About 100 students attended the debate last Friday evening. Mr. Cohen took the chair, and Mr. C. H. Taylor judged the speakers. Less enthusiasm was shown than on previous occasions, speakers facing a comparatively subdued audience.

The issue, "That the BMA is hampering the progress of medical services in NZ" was not topical, and rather limited in scope, in that many speakers inevitably wasted time on irrelevancies.

Mr. O'Klynn, in his usual quiet, unassuming manner, outlined what he considered the four most important aspects of the subject. Firstly, health in NZ is relatively poor, infant and maternal mortality rates being the only highlights. Secondly he showed how this state of affairs was due to the out-dated GP system, and our present hospital system, and that the BMA intended to maintain this. Thirdly, the BMA has frustrated every effort of the Government to improve our medical services. He concluded by presenting an ideal plan for public health in NZ. Each point he made was logically developed and well substantiated, but it was unfortunate that as opening speaker he failed to point out how the BMA is constituted, and how it differs from the profession as a whole.

Mr. Berry devoted most of his time to criticising the Government's scheme, and insisted that the BMA was willing to co-operate in any scheme provided it suited them. "The BMA cannot be expected to co-operate in any plan which would not give the doctors scope for their best work." (Voice: On highest fees.) "We must have evolution, not revolution, without encroaching on the rights of the individual." His subject matter was rather confused and he should be careful not to contradict his previous statements.

Mr. McIntyre developed some of Mr. O'Flynn's points, showing that the attitude of the BMA was mainly a negative one. He criticised the present educational and research facilities for doctors, maintaining that the BMA considered them satisfactory.

Mr. Bernie succeeded in amusing the audience and while speaking with his tongue in bis cheek, found it difficult to provide many convincing arguments. "Because the doctors refused to be 'regimented.' this does not mean they reject the Government's schemes." He dwelt for some time on the relationship between patient and doctor. "There is a certain amount of professionalism in any profession."

With the exception of Mr. O'Fiynn the main speakers were criticised by the judge for their poor assemblage of material and for their irrelevancies.

.... and sods

Mr. O'Connor's main point was that if the BMA was not hampering the progress of medical services in N.Z.; then there must be some evidence to show that they are assisting in it.

Mr. Churlton made three points only. One of them concerned the subject of the debate. "The BMA should run the Government like all the other unions."

Mr. Hume (Aff.): Clinical services have been established in the USA without Government control, and this solution will give doctors opportunity and time for research and specialization.

Miss Couch was obviously most upset at the thought of compelling the doctors to enter that most despised of services, the Public Service.

Mr. O'Brien: "The BMA is too orthodox and will not allow revolutionary ideas."

Mr. McHardy: "Doctors should be directed to areas such as the West Coast mining district, where a strike has been necessary to secure adequate medical services."

Mr. Jack condescended to make a contribution and earned second place by making a beautiful speech on what others had already said.

In the summing up Mr. Berry admitted that "the BMA was not constituted to improve the medical services in NZ," while Mr. O'Flynn proceeded to demolish the arguments of the malicious people who accused him of untruths. The motion was then put and carried by voice.

Mr. C. H. Taylor then gave his judgment and criticism of the speakers. He stressed the importance of the good preparation of material evident in Mr. O'Flynn's speech and sympathised with speakers who had to undergo such rough treatment in the hands of debating societies' audiences. His placing of the speakers was: Mr. O'Fiynn, Mr. Jack, Miss Couch, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Hume and Mr. O'Connor.