The British Union of Fascists presents to the people of Great Britain in this paper, a brief summary of some of the principle points of its policy in connection with what is probably the most vital of all National problems: PUBLIC HEALTH.
IT must be understood by the reader that this policy, based as it is upon the Fascist conception of the National welfare, has been drawn up by a group of specialists in all branches of what we choose to call the healing professions of this country. Men and women of considerable prominence, some of them members of our Movement but others not, have devoted many months to a study of the problems with which we shall deal, and on a correct solution of which we realise the future of the Fascist State must rest. The whole of the public health services of the nation will always have from a Fascist Government, the very first consideration; because it is felt that in the building of the Greater Britain the health of all people of all classes must be a most important care of the Government.
THE MEDICAL EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC
It is agreed unanimously by members of the Medical profession that great difficulties are constantly being placed in the way of an improvement in the health of individual citizens, by the remarkable lack of knowledge which has been permitted to exist amongst members of the lay public of all classes on matters vitally concerning themselves, and especially, in connection with their health. Medical men, who are attached to the staffs of all the great hospitals, are constantly coming into contact with endless cases of incurable disease which, if advice had been sought in the early stages could very likely have been cured completely. Only too frequently the pitiful stories of misery and suffering which come to the ears of medical men and women can be directly attributed to the appalling ignorance of the patients concerned. Surely it should be the first duty of the Health and Education Authorities to endeavour to combat the evil results of such ignorance by suitable instruction. First and foremost in the Fascist Health Policy will be a nation-wide campaign for the instruction of public opinion on health matters of all sorts.
The newspapers, the cinemas, and all local public authorities wall be asked to co-operate under the direction of a National officer appointed by the Minister of Health, to do all in their power to instruct the public on matters connected with their health. The difficulty, of course, will be to eradicate from among the adult members of our population the effects of long years of ignorance of all health subjects, but we are confident that persistent propaganda on these lines will produce excellent results in a space of a relatively short time. The real remedy for the problem, of course will rest with the children in their schools. Here we propose that every child in all schools throughout the length and breadth of Great Britain should receive instruction on health matters. This instruction would be co-ordinated as described above by the National Director of Public Medical Education, who would act under the Minister of Health, and would co-operate with the Education Authorities. All local Medical Officers of Health would be instructed to see that suitable courses of medical instruction were conducted in the schools in their districts, and they would be called upon to select suitable medical men and women practising in the locality to be responsible for this teaching.
It is the Fascist conception of the ideal citizen that every man and woman should be prepared to the maximum extent to be of service to their fellow citizens, and we look forward to the time when every child on leaving school will be sound in body and in mind, will be skilled in “first aid” and a potential blood donor, and will be possessed of that knowledge which will lead him (or her) confidently to seek medical advice at earliest signs of any illness or disease.
There is probably no problem more urgent to those really concerned with the welfare of their country than the question of the future of our hospitals. The voluntary hospitals which have done so much in the training of doctors, dentists and nurses, are undoubtedly finding it extremely difficult in carrying on at the highest pitch of efficiency, for financial reasons. The British Union of Fascists views with admiration the work done by the men and women who are responsible for the building up of this system, and it sees no reason for the abolition of the voluntary hospitals. On the assumption of power we envisage the appointment of a National Director of Hospitals, who would co-ordinate the working of all the different hospitals (both Voluntary and State hospitals) and who would be represented by a single nominee on the governing Committees of all the voluntary hospitals. The State would make it its duty to find the necessary additional funds for the management of the voluntary hospitals and would not interfere in their internal management.
The Government nominee would be present to assist by means of expert advice in the running of each hospital, and would be able to keep the National Director informed of the progress and development of his particular hospital. It is a common criticism by ill-informed people, that on the introduction of such a system as this, voluntary contributions to the hospitals would certainly decline. We Fascists contradict emphatically this statement, for we believe that Fascism will bring to Britain the real spirit of sacrifice for the common welfare, which will, if anything, increase the willingness of people to support by financial contributions such institutions as the hospitals of their land. Fascism believes that it is in the National interest that hospital accommodation should be available for every citizen in need of it, and in addition that highly trained medical and nursing staffs must be attached to every hospital.
With the development of mechanical means of progression the numbers of fracture cases is rising to an alarming figure, and we feel that the strongest efforts must be made to combat the results of the many accident cases which are now coming into all the general hospitals. We propose to establish in London a fracture hospital with at least two hundred beds, to which fracture cases could be sent, and where research work would be conducted on the treatment of fractures, and where in addition every doctor would be permitted to go to improve his knowledge in the treatment of these injuries.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
The British Union of Fascists requires from the medical profession the highest standard of efficiency, and would insist that medical examinations should be maintained at a very high level. The supervision of the training and teaching of doctors would be in the hands of a National Director, who would act under the Minister of Health, and who would be a trained medical practitioner of great standing in his profession. He would be responsible directly to the Minister for seeing that every medical teaching institution was properly staffed, that all students were receiving proper instruction before presenting themselves for examinations, and that consequently there could be no criticism of the standard of efficiency of the medical profession. We realise, also, how vital it is that Post-Graduate teaching should be developed to its maximum extent in the interests of medical practitioners, and of the State, and we propose that at definite intervals (for example—every few years), it should be possible for every doctor to visit a Post Graduate Centre and there bring himself absolutely up-to-date with all the advances of medical knowledge. In order to make this possible, financial support should be given to the doctors themselves, to enable them to leave their practices, and in return for this the Government would expect from them the friendliest co-operation with the central authorities.
We feel that the British public should know our attitude towards that important question of the specialist, for there is no more abused word in the English language than this. No real attempt has ever been made to define it. and we believe that this definition should be made, because it is in the National interest that people should be able to consult medical men who are clearly of specialist status, without tear that there is any uncertainty about the qualifications of the persons upon whom they are relying. Medical men and women desirous of being regarded as specialists in some particular branch of their profession would apply to the Minister of Health, giving a record of their qualifications and experience, and if these were considered to be satisfactory they would be accorded the status of a specialist. No other medical person would be permitted to use this title. We do not believe that the general practitioner, who is concerned with all branches of medicine, can in these days of greatly increased knowledge be at the same time, a specialist in any one branch of medicine. In this connection, especially where surgical work is concerned, we believe that every individual person should be able to obtain the set vices of a specialist within reasonable time for himself, and with, this in view we propose to appoint in country districts, Government specialists who would receive, suitable salaries. They would be permitted to carry on private consulting work, and their services would be made available for any panel doctor who cared to avail himself of them.
There is no more vital matter in the regeneration of a nation than the development of medical and scientific research. Under a Fascist Government the Medical Research Council would increase considerably in its importance and influence, and the secretary of this body would” rank as one of the National Health Officers being responsible only to the Minister of Health. The British Union of Fascists anticipates that at least a grant of one million pounds would be made annually to the Medical Research Council for the furtherance of Medical Research. It is a constant criticism of medical men, generally by lay persons, that alleged advances in knowledge are obstructed by professional bodies, especially if these advances have come from the unqualified. We assure the people of Great Britain that machinery would be created by which every alleged cure would be brought before a properly constituted body on which lay representatives would sit. We do emphasise that we would not permit the wholesale production of any drug or remedy for which curative powers are claimed, unless these had first been approved of by the body mentioned above. It would be an offence against the National well-being for any person to publish an advertisement of a remedy of any sort which had not first been thoroughly tested by scientific means. In this connection we would seek the co-operation of the press with confidence, asking them not to publish statements of a medical nature or advertisements of a similar type, which were not in the National interest.
Fascism regards the nursing profession as one of the States most valued institutions, and would do all in its power to promote the welfare of those who join in this work of National service. It is our feeling that, nurses are asked to undertake work of great National importance under the most unsatisfactory conditions, and we assure the British public that the immediate correction of these many wrongs will be one of the first considerations of the Fascist Government. We insist that every nurse should receive proper accommodation at her hospital or Nursing home, should be paid a reasonable salary, should have a definite eight hour day with proper off-duty and holiday time, and lor those nurses who decide to make nursing their life’s work, a compulsory National Pension scheme would be introduced to which all hospitals and nursing institutions throughout the country would be compelled to comply. We feel that nursing should be regarded by all thinking people as of the definite status of a profession.
Fascism would make the slum clearance problem a national task in the following manner; we would formulate our programme for clearing the slums and rebuilding over a period of three years. The slums of each of the great cities would be divided into sections to be gutted and rebuilt over the specified period. Outside the city we would erect temporary bungalows to house the inhabitants of Section No. 1 while the slum was being pulled down and rebuilt. We would also provide a State transport service to carry them to and from their work. When No. 1 section was completed, the inhabitants would vacate their bungalows and go back to their new houses.
The inhabitants of No. 2 section would then vacate their houses and would go to the bungalows and use the new transport system. When their houses were completed No. 3 section would take over the bungalows and use the transport system until their houses were completed; and so on until the gutting and rebuilding of the slums had been completed.
Once the problem is taken as a national problem, it can be organised on the grand scale and every principle of modern organization and of mass production can be employed. By these means we can carry through the destruction and rebuilding of the slums at a far lower cost and at a far greater speed than the present political system conceived to be possible. The cost of production would further be by the application of the Fascist principle that no landlord who has not properly maintained his property as a trustee to the State will be permitted to retain that property or lay claim to any compensation.
Few things are more foolish under the present system than the method of pouring out millions to cure disease rather than spending money to prevent disease by such measures as slum clearance. The State must be prepared to organise and to finance the maintenance of national health. Foremost among these measures to rebuild the physique of the nation will be the rebuilding of the slums.
Such matters as land drainage, water supply, proper supervision and control of milk supplies, slaughter houses, and the conditions under which men and women are required to work in industry, would receive our most careful consideration, for we feel that there are many unsatisfactory aspects of these matters at the present time, and that if we are to diminish disease and to improve the health of our citizens, each of these individual subjects must be dealt with by the Government of the Nation. Not until we have in power a Government which is concerned not with Party interests, but only with the interests of the Nation as a whole, can we expect any proper solution to these pressing problems.
The Blackshirt Movement views with grave concern the alarming increase in maternal mortality of recent years, and on the assumption of power will undertake the most active measures to correct this. In the first place, it is our belief that more hospitals and more hospital beds must be made available for maternity cases. Women must be made to realise the real facts of childbirth and should be taught that it is unreasonable in a scientific state to expect this to be carried out in anything but properly equipped institutions No private house is ever really fitted for maternity work. In connection with this question, the vital necessity of anti-natal supervision is clearly realised by the British Union of Fascists.
Proper clinics would be opened in many areas where they do not exist to-day, and every woman who could not afford it would receive proper treatment at the National expense. In addition, Fascism would develop infant welfare and Post-natal clinics on a very much increased scale, and it is clearly most vitally important that mothers and their children should be carefully cared for and advised if their health is going to be what we look for in the Fascist State. Financial help for all mothers who need it would be one of our most important considerations. It should be possible for every woman to leave work at least three months before her child is born, and it should not be necessary for her to return to work for at least three months following the birth of her child. The allocation of a cash benefit to every poor mother is a matter which is prominent in our policy. It must hereby be stated that the unmarried mother, for whom no allowance has ever really been made in this country, could claim the full advantage of the Nation’s National Maternity Scheme.
After careful consideration we are advised that at the present time the most unsatisfactory state of affairs exists in connection with this important service. We emphasize that advice about eyesight should only be given by satisfactorily trained individuals. To make this possible, examining and diploma granting bodies must be organised on a National basis. The existing eye hospitals should be asked to co-operate in the training of opticians, and no person should be permitted to practice as an Optician without first receiving proper training sanctioned by the State. No untrained person would be permitted to test eyesight or to dispense glasses for any citizen. Fascism would develop a general system of eye clinics for the treatment of poorer patients. These would be staffed by properly qualified Opticians who would have the service of consulting Ophthalmic Surgeons for abnormal cases.
Fascism would abolish absolutely the present system by which trays of spectacles are exhibited in certain shops, and by which members of the public can choose glasses for themselves, which are only too frequently damaging to their eyesight.
Scientific men and women have agreed that considerable changes are necessary if pharmacy is to be brought to that level of efficiency which would be required in the Fascist State. As in all other branches of the healing profession, we say emphatically that pharmacists should receive proper training to prepare themselves for their life’s work, and that such training should confer upon them the status of a profession. We feel that it is undesirable that professional men other than pharmacists should dispense medicines, and we believe that this should be confined entirely to the pharmacists of Great Britain. We also regard the present system by which many pharmacists give advice on medical matters as appallingly bad, because it must be realised that they are not qualified in any way to do so. We believe emphatically that the dispensing of medicines shotdd be in the hands of pharmacists alone, and that the giving of advice of a medical nature should be solely in the hands of the medical profession.
In spite of considerable efforts made in recent years to attain a radical improvement in the dental condition of the people of this country, there is clearly at the present time especially amongst poorer members of the community, a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. This is, of course, due to the lack of education of the mass of people, but in spite of this we feel that a considerable improvement should be made in the dental services which are available for poorer patients. It is to be clearly understood that at no time does Fascism propose the treatment in such clinics of those patients who can afford to pay private fees. Regarding the dental profession itself, we would require that all examinations and courses of instruction should be maintained at the satisfactory level of efficiency which exists to-day.
NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEMES
The question ot the pane! system has engaged our most serious attention; while realising its many faults, we believe it to be inherently sound. The matter of detailed re-organisation is one which would require the most careful consideration of medical and lay experts on tin. assumption of power by a Fascist Government. We are quite satisfied that the remuneration of panel doctors is inadequate and should be materially increased.
This is a matter which has caused the advisers of the British Union of Fascists very great thought, and it is part of our Policy to take the most effective steps to deal with this most important problem. As in other matters, the basis of the trouble is, of course, the ignorance of the people generally. Our medical educational policy would tend very much to rectify this. We would support as strongly as possible the system by which free clinics are established all over the country, for the treatment of the different venereal diseases.
The Fascist Government would lay it down as a matter of principle, that any person suffering from venereal disease should immediately seek treatment at a proper institution. Those who did not do so would be guilty of a punishable offence. If it was proved that an individual person knowingly transmitted the disease to some other person, the person concerned would be regarded as being guilty of a most serious offence which would be punishable by imprisonment.
BLOOD TRANSFUSION AND FIRST AID SERVICE
We regard with the greatest admiration the excellent work which has been done by the Blood Transfusion Service of the British Red Cross Society, and it would be one of our important duties to extend this service to every part of Great Britain. We believe that the value of blood transfusion has been established so completely in recent years that every citizen should have within his reach a blood donor in the event of his requiring such treatment. It is hoped that in the Fascist State even healthy citizen would be a potential blood donor. The work done by such excellent bodies as the St. John’s and the British Red Cross Societies in furthering the knowledge of first aid amongst, all classes of the community is clearly recognised by the British Union of Fascists. We would link such organisations together and place them on a National basis for the service of the people. We look forward confidently to the time when every citizen in the Fascist State will have some training in first-aid.
Excellent work has already been done in connection with tuberculosis in Great Britain but we feel that infinitely more improvements must be carried out if we are to deal with this scourge in a satisfactory manner. Research Institutions, hospitals, sanatoria, open air schools and tuberculosis dispensaries must be improved and increased in number in every centre. Closely linked with this problem is the question of the milk supply and housing, to which reference has already been made.
This disease, the incidence of which is undoubtedly on the increase, is especially prominent in the public eye at the present time. Research work we regard as vitally important in the National interest, and we should do our utmost to secure for this the services of the ablest of our medical men and women, to whom adequate salaries would be paid. We mention here again the vital importance of the medical education of the people if this disease is to be recognised in its early stages. It is also clearly important to raise the question of alleged cancer cures which have been produced at different times by lay people. No person would be permitted to publish at any time a document claiming that he had discovered a cancer cure unless that document had been approved by the Minister of Health. Alt claims bv medical and lay people in this country would be carefully sifted by the proper authorities acting under the Minister of Health.
There is very little doubt that an enormous amount of misery and suffering is caused by rheumatism and its allied diseases, the result of which is that great numbers of men and women, many of them of relatively young age, are crippled and unable to get a decent livelihood. A supreme National effort is clearly necessary if this disease is to be brought under control and every effort would be made by a Fascist Government to stimulate research into the rheumatic group of diseases, to provide adequate facilities for the treatment of all sufferers, and to see that hospitals and special clinics were provided with all the special apparatus necessary for the allevia¬tion of these disorders.
We are of the opinion that one of the greatest condemnations of the present democratic system of government is the hopelessly inadequate representation which medicine and its allied sciences receive in the House of Commons to-day. It is hopeless to expect men of great professional status and no confirmed party views to fight parliamentary elections. Any thinking person must feel after visiting the House of Commons how serious is the lack of expert criticism on the floor of the House. This vital error can only be corrected by the method of election of the Corporate State, by which prominent persons will be selected to occupy parliamentary seats, solely because of the professional ability to do so and not lor party reasons. Under Fascism every section of the Healing Profession would be represented in Parliament.
THE ORGANISATION OF THE MEDICAL AND HEALING PROFESSIONS.
As in all other branches of the National life, members of these professions which are concerned with the Nation’s Health will be organised on the basis of the Corporate State. It is anticipated that a medical corporation will be formed to include within its ranks all those men and women concerned with the different healing professions. This corporation would be sub-divided into sub-corporations or categories, and it is proposed that these categories should be as follows: 1. Pure Medical Category. 2. Dental Category. 3. Nursing Category. 4. Pharmacists Category. 5. Opticians Category. 6. Technical Assistants Category, to include the following: a. Massage and Electrical assistants. b. Biophysical Assistants. c. Radiographers. d. Laboratory Assistants. e. Pathological Assistants. f. Surgical instrument makers. g. Chiropodists.
Each of these categories would be controlled by a number of men and women selected for their prominence in their respective professions, for seats on the Governing Councils of the different sub-corporations. In addition there would be representatives of the lay public on each category in order that the Fascist principle of having the so-called consumer represented in every part of the Corporate State should be enforced. There would in addition be one co-ordinating body which would include within its ranks representatives of each of the different professional categories and which would make it possible for the different aspects of the nation’s health to be carefully and critically considered by all those linked with it in any way.
The duties of the different sections of the medical corporations would include such matters as: 1. To set the standard of professional proficiency required by its members. 2. To establish with government sanction examining boards and diploma granting bodies where they do not: already exist. 3. To supervise examinations. 4. To settle the question of the hours of employment of members. 5. To fix wages, salaries and pensions. 6. To conduct disciplinary action against members where it is considered necessary. In this connection we realise the obvious injustice of a system by which a body like the General Medical Council can make, decisions which mean professional ruin to a man or woman without there being any court to which an appeal can be made. We should regard it as a matter of common justice to establish a Court of Appeal presided over by one of His Majesty’s Judges which would review all cases in which disciplinary action was taken against members of the medical profession. 7. To send recommendations to the Minister of Health on such matters which the corporation felt should be dealt with by the Government. 8. To advise the Minister of Health on all matters referred to the Corporation by him. 9. To select certain of their members for seats in the House of Commons.
MINISTER OF HEALTH
It is clearly of the most vital importance that close co-ordination of the Nation’s Health services and organisations should be established by bringing under one head all those different bodies. The Minister of Health should clearly be the responsible Minister of State to whom all should be subsidiary. In the Fascist Government this Minister would be regarded as one of the most important of His Majesty’s Cabinet Ministers.
It is proposed that a number of men and women of great promi¬nence in their respective professions should be appointed to direct different aspects of the Nation’s health organisations, with the ranks of National Directors. These would be:-
1. Director of Public Health. (To whom all medical officers of health would be responsible.) 2. Director of Public Medical Education. (To co-operate with the Ministry of Education.) 3. Director of Hospitals. 4. Director of Nursing Services. 5. Director of Medical Research. 6. Director of National Ophthalmic Services. 7. Director of Pharmaceutical Services. 8. Director of National Maternity Services. 9. Director of National Venereal Treatment Service. 10. Director of Dental Service. 11. Director of National Health Insurance. 12. Director of Anti-Tuberculosis Campaign. 13. Director of Anti-Cancer Campaign. 14. Director of Anti-Rheumatic Campaign. 15. Director of National Blood Transfusion Service. 16. Director of National First Aid Service.
These National officers would be in a position to make contact with each other very easily, so that all branches of the healing professions could co-operate infinitely more rapidly than they do to-day, in the interests of National Health. They would constitute a council to advise the Minister of Health on all matters concerned with the executive side of his department.
We expect that the probable method of administration would be for the Minister to refer to the medical corporation or its subsidiary corporations, matters on which lie required their advice. They would, for their part, make any suggestions they desired to him. The National Directors would, in addition to keeping the Minister informed of the progress of their different sections of the health services, act in the capacity chiefly of executive officer to carry out the Government’s and Parliament’s decisions.
We pledge ourselves, in conclusion, that at all times and in every way, the Nation’s health shall receive the first consideration of a Fascist Government.