HC Deb 16 December 1927 vol 211 cc2722-4

I beg to move, in page 4, line 37, after the word "some" to insert the word "qualified nurse or".

This Amendment makes no change at all in the legal effect of the Clause as at present drafted. The only effect of the insertion of these words in the Clause is that it will emphasise to those who have to administer the Measure that when the medical officer of health deputes some officer to inspect and visit these nursing homes he shall bear in mind that the official primarily qualified to deal with questions of nursing is a qualified nurse. The effect of this Amendment will be that when it is necessary to inquire into the character of the nursing in a home, or the credentials of the nurses, or the conditions under which the nurses live, the official of the local supervising authority to make that inspection will, normally speaking, be a qualified nurse. That is desirable because a qualified nurse is the best person to undertake that task.


I beg to second Amendment.

I want to do so for certain very definite reasons. When we were discussing this question, it was recommended by representatives of nursing organisations, that in addition to the medical inspection of the homes, it might also be necessary to have a qualified nurse to go into all the work and the organisation of the homes which would not normally be dealt with by a medical practitioner. There have been, undoubtedly, and there are now, some very serious scandals connected with nursing homes. There are many nursing homes that possess quite good premises, have charmingly-attired nurses, with flowers in the public rooms, giving a general air of freshness and beauty on the outside. They present a very different view when one goes inside. We appeal for a qualified nurse to be able to go in and see the back premises, to see the nursing side. We had one case before us, and another case has been brought to my notice since, of a nurse going into the kitchen of one of the homes where the food of the invalids was being prepared and finding in one corner of it masses of dirty linen, much of it from septic patients, being stored pending removal to the laundry. In some cases septic and dirty material was placed in the bathroom, and in other cases the lavatory accommodation was extremely bad and dirty. While, no doubt, it might be said that it is as much a part of the doctor's job to see that these things are looked after, a busy practitioner cannot go into such details. They are jobs for nurses. Moreover, a nurse is accustomed to looking after this sort of thing. I hope, therefore, the Minister, who has shown himself so gracious in the previous Amendment, will also give us this concession in this Clause. I know that it might be argued that the words or some other officer duly authorised by them. might be taken to include a qualified nurse. We want to be quite sure that the position of the nurse is safeguarded in this Clause and that it is possible—the fact should be emphasised—for a qualified nurse to go and visit some of these nursing homes.

Amendment agreed to.