HC Deb 02 November 1939 vol 352 cc2091-2
67. Sir Ernest Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Health how many members of the visiting staffs of the voluntary hospitals in London have enrolled to date under emergency conditions in the categories enumerated by him, namely, whole-time service, whole-time service with indefinite leave without pay, service with option to transfer from whole-time to part-time on conditions formulated in the Ministry circular, dated 18th September, and voluntary enrolment with the Ministry, directly; whether he is aware of the inadequacy of the offers at present made; and whether he has in contemplation any proposals more acceptable as regards remuneration and opportunities for continuing some measure of hospital and private practice?

Mr. Elliot

The number of specialists and senior members enrolled in the Emergency Medical Service who reported for whole-time service in the London sectors and who are for the most part on the visiting staffs of the London voluntary hospitals, is 656. Of these 17 are on indefinite leave without pay and five have transferred to part time. So far there has been one offer of service without obligation. As I said in reply to the hon. Member last Wednesday and to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ash-ford (Mr. Spens) last Thursday, the whole question has been under consideration by a special committee, which includes the presidents of the three Royal colleges and which was set up on 18th October. I learned yesterday that this committee have now formulated their recommendations, which they are coming to discuss with me to-morrow.

Sir E. Graham-Little

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise how very mischievous is the uncertainty of the position for these voluntary hospitals, and as only 25 per cent. of the members of these staffs have applied for part-time service, is it not obvious that other means should be adopted?

Mr. Elliot

It is for that reason that I have given the utmost urgency of consideration to the recommendations brought forward by the body which I have just mentioned.