42. Lord Balniel asked the Minister of Health whether he will initiate an inquiry into the scope and practice in this country of so-called scientology, and the practice of psychology for fee or reward by persons who have no medical or psychological qualifications.
Mr. K. Robinson: No, Sir.
Lord Balniel: Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the commercial practice of psychology by unqualified persons could be very dangerous indeed for certain mentally disordered people? In view of the scathing criticism by an official board of inquiry in Australia into the so-called practice of scientology, surely the right hon. Gentleman considers that it is in the public interest to hold a similar type of inquiry in this country?
Mr. Robinson: I am prepared to consider any demand for an inquiry, but I have not had one yet. I am aware that extravagant claims are made on behalf of scientology, which are not generally accepted, and for my part I would advise anyone who is considering a course of this kind to go to his doctor first.
Mr. Snow: Is my right hon. Friend aware that there will be some support among some Members on this side of the House for this general proposition that an examination of advertisements in some free-thinking journals might elucidate the general picture for him in the sense that there are people who attract a large number of clients by almost fraudulent claims to have a medical background?
Mr. Robinson: As my hon. Friend probably knows, the law does not prohibit anyone from practising medicine or surgery, with one or two limited exceptions. Unless he is registered as a doctor, no one may call himself a doctor, or imply that he is registered. If anybody has evidence that this society or the members of it is doing that, I hope that he will communicate with me.
70. Mr. Hordern asked the Minister of Health if he will now initiate an inquiry into the practice known as scientology, in view of the correspondence sent to him by one of the hon. Member for Horsham's constituents.
71. Mr. G. Johnson Smith asked the Minister of Health if he will now initiate an inquiry into the practice known as scientology.
Mr. K. Robinson: I do not think any further inquiry is necessary to establish that the activities of this organisation are potentially harmful. I have no doubt that scientology is totally valueless in promoting health and, in particular, that people seeking help with problems of mental health can gain nothing from the attentions of this organisation.
Last updated 21 February 1997
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