Punch,  35 (1858), 159.

The Benefit of the Medical Act

Dr De Goose and Co.


Letter, Spoof


Medical Practitioners, Quackery, Politics, Government, Commerce

    The spoof letter-writer praises the new medical act on 'behalf of the undiplomatic [i.e. unlicensed] part of the Medical Profession'. Seeks to show how favourably it will work for unlicensed practitioners by citing the 'illiberal observations' of physician George Ross, who holds that quacks will be able to proceed as before and that the act does not sufficiently penalise those who practice illegally. Thanks Robert Grosvenor (1st Baron Ebury) and other politicians for helping to create legislation which will restrict the 'amount of those Bills which heretofore we have been enabled to run up to any sum in certain cases by the threat of exposure'. Points out that this clause will simply force 'undiplomatic' medical practitioners such as himself to 'charge ready money'. Focusing on the thorny issue of registration fees, stresses that such fees, while giving medical practitioners 'the privilege of suing their insolvent patients', will be of no use to them and only enable the public to distinguish the 'diplomatic' from the 'undiplomatics' practitioners—a task for which the public 'does not care twopence'. Concludes that the act is simply one for 'Fining Medical Men Two Guineas' and hopes the 'diplomatists' like it. Expects that few will actually register and 'so lose their precious status' and their hard-earned qualifications.

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