Ministry of Health Act 1919

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1919 c. 21


Ministry of Health Act, 1919

(9 & 10 Geo. 5.) CHAPTER 21.

An Act to establish a Ministry of Health to exercise in England and Wales powers with respect to Health and Local Government, and confer upon the Chief Secretary certain powers with respect to Health in Ireland, and for purposes connected therewith.

[3rd June 1919]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

S-1 Establishment of Minister.

1 Establishment of Minister.

1. For the purpose of promoting the health of the people throughout England and Wales, and for the purpose of the exercise of the powers transferred or conferred by this Act, it shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint a Minister of Health (hereinafter called ‘the Minister’), who shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.

S-2 General powers and duties of Minister in relation to health.

2 General powers and duties of Minister in relation to health.

2. It shall be the duty of the Minister, in the exercise and performance of any powers and duties transferred to or conferred upon him by or in pursuance of this Act, to take all such steps as may be desirable to secure the preparation, effective carrying out and co-ordination of measures conducive to the health of the people, including measures for the prevention and cure of diseases, the avoidance of fraud in connection with alleged remedies therefor, the treatment of physical and mental defects, the treatment and care of the blind, the initiation and direction of research, the collection, preparation, publication, and dissemination of information and statistics relating thereto, and the training of persons for health services.

S-3 Transfer of powers and duties to and from Minister.

3 Transfer of powers and duties to and from Minister.

(1) There shall be transferred to the Minister—

(a ) all the powers and duties of the Local Government Board;

(b ) all the powers and duties of the Insurance Commissioners and the Welsh Insurance Commissioners;

(c ) all the powers of the Board of Education with respect to attending to the health of expectant mothers and nursing mothers and of children who have not attained the age of five years and are not in attendance at schools recognised by the Board of Education;

(d ) all the powers and duties of the Board of Education with respect to the medical inspection and treatment of children and young persons under paragraph (b ) of subsection (1) of section thirteen of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907 , as amended and extended by the Education Act, 1918 : Provided that, for the purpose of facilitating the effective exercise and performance of these powers and duties, the Minister may make arrangements with the Board of Education respecting the submission and approval of schemes of local education authorities and the payment of grants to local education authorities, so far as such schemes and payment relate to or are in respect of medical inspection and treatment; and the powers and duties of the Minister may under any such arrangements be exercised and performed by the Board on his behalf and with his authority under such conditions as he may think fit;

(e ) all the powers of the Privy Council and of the Lord President of the Council under the Midwives Acts, 1902and 1918;

(f ) such powers of supervising the administration of Part I. of the Children Act, 1908 (which relates to infant life protection), as have heretofore been exercised by the Secretary of State:

Provided that—

(i) the power conferred on the Insurance Commissioners by the proviso to subsection (2) of section sixteen of the National Insurance Act, 1911 , of retaining and applying for the purposes of research such sums as are therein mentioned shall not be transferred to the Minister, but the duties heretofore performed by the Medical Research Committee shall after the date of the commencement of this Act be carried on by or under the direction of a Committee of the Privy Council appointed by His Majesty for that purpose, and any property held for the purposes of the former Committee shall after that date be transferred to and vested in such persons as the body by whom such duties as aforesaid are carried on may appoint, and be held by them for the purposes of that body; and

(ii) in such matters of a judicial nature under the National Insurance (Health) Acts, 1911 to 1918, as may be prescribed under those Acts, the powers and duties of the Insurance Commissioners and the Welsh Insurance Commissioners by this Act transferred to the Minister shall be exercised by the Minister through a special body or special bodies of persons constituted in such manner as may be so prescribed.

(2) It shall be lawful for His Majesty from time to time by Order in Council to transfer to the Minister—

(a ) all or any of the powers and duties of the Minister of Pensions with respect to the health of disabled officers and men after they have left the service;

(b ) all or any of the powers and duties of the Secretary of State under the enactments relating to lunacy and mental deficiency;

(c ) any other powers and duties in England and Wales of any Government department which appear to His Majesty to relate to matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people.

(3) It shall be lawful for His Majesty from time to time by Order in Council to transfer from the Minister to any other Government department any of the powers and duties of the Minister, whether relating to the relief of the poor or otherwise, which appear to His Majesty not to relate to matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people.

And it is hereby declared that it is the intention of this Act that, in the event of provision being made by Act of Parliament passed in the present or in any future session for the revision of the law relating to the relief of the poor and the distribution amongst other authorities of the powers exerciseable by boards of guardians, there shall be transferred from the Minister to other Government departments such of the powers and duties under the enactments relating to the relief of the poor then vested in the Minister (not being powers or duties relating or incidental to the health of the people) as appear to His Majesty to be such as could be more conveniently exercised and performed by such other departments.

(4) His Majesty may by Order in Council make such incidental, consequential, and supplemental provisions as may be necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving full effect to any transfer of powers or duties by or under this section, including provisions for the transfer of any property, rights, and liabilities held, enjoyed, or incurred by any Government department in connection with any powers or duties transferred, and may make such adaptations in the enactments relating to such powers or duties as may be necessary to make exerciseable by the Minister and his officers or by such other Government department and their officers, as the case may be, the power and duties so transferred.

(5) In connection with the transfer of powers and duties to or from the Minister by or under this Act, the provisions set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect.

S-4 Consultative councils.

4 Consultative councils.

(1) It shall be lawful for His Majesty by Order in Council to establish consultative councils in England and Wales for giving, in accordance with the provisions of the Order, advice and assistance to the Minister in connection with such matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people as may be referred to in such Order.

(2) Every such council shall include women as well as men, and shall consist of persons having practical experience of the matters referred to the council.

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