HC Deb 08 July 1941 vol 373 cc34-6
68. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Health why, as the result of a decision by the Ministry of Health, Miss Brown-low, matron at Farnborough Hospital, has been given indefinite leave of absence and is to remain in receipt of an inclusive salary of £500 a year; and in view of the appeals recently made for trained nurses, and in the interests of public economy, how does he justify his action?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)

The reasons for my right hon. Friend's action in this matter are indicated in an official letter sent to the council, a copy of which he is supplying to my hon. Friend.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the hon. Lady ask the Minister of Health whether he does not think that, for the reasons given in my Question, it is quite inappropriate at this time to retire a fully-trained woman on indefinite leave of absence at a salary of £ 500a year, when she could be fully occupied?

Miss Horsbrugh

Perhaps my hon. Friend will read the letter which my right hon. Friend has sent to the council.

Sir I. Albery

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the answer would interest many other hon. Members?

Mr. Watkins

Will an effort be made to utilise the excellent technical knowledge of Miss Brownlow at an early opportunity, instead of compelling her to idleness while in receipt of £500 a year?

Miss Horsbrugh

I do not think there is anything in my answer to show that the lady is compelled to idleness. I think the point should be taken up as to what she wishes to do while on leave of absence.

Mr. Mander

Will the hon. Lady arrange for the letter to be published in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Miss Horsbrugh

My right hon. Friend would be quite willing that the letter should be published if Miss Brownlow agreed.

Mr. Messer

Is it not the case that if she is on leave with pay, she cannot take other work?

Sir W. Smithers

Who is master of the Ministry of Health, Miss Brownlow or the Minister?

Miss Horsbrugh

In a case like this, I think it would only be fair that, before the official letter sent by my right hon. Friend to the council concerning this case was made public, Miss Brownlow should, if possible, be informed