HC Deb 12 March 1901 vol 90 cc1351-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland will he explain why the Local Government Board are insisting on the appointment of trained nurses for the position of assistant nurses in workhouse hospitals, and refusing to allow boards of guardians to appoint girls to these positions who could be trained (at a great saving to the rates) under the eyes of the medical officer and nurse in charge; and whether he will order this order of the Local Government Board to be withdrawn.


In the interests of the sick poor it is necessary that the assistant nurse of a small workhouse hospital should be an experienced, qualified nurse, as she has entire charge of the sick during the temporary absence of the nurse from any cause, besides having probably to take charge of patients at night in many cases. The opinion of the Local Government Board is that no person should, be appointed and paid for discharging the duties of a nurse unless she has been sufficiently trained. The Board does not ask that an assistant nurse should be fully trained within the meaning of Section 58 (2) (a) (ii.) of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, and the Board has always been glad to encourage boards of guardians to train nurses whenever a systematic course of training has been proposed under sufficient and competent teachers. This has been done in some unions. The Board is, however, unable to approve of proposals that inexperienced untrained girls should be permitted to attempt to discharge nursing duties, and to acquire the status of a nurse without any sufficient or systematic instruction.


If the boards consent to send these girls to be properly trained, will the Local Government Board be prepared to make them a grant-in-aid in the same way as is done in the case of fully-trained nurses?


That is a proper subject for inquiry, and I will look into it.