HC Deb 03 August 1944 vol 402 c1584
41. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the strain imposed on nurses and the effect on the nursing of patients through nurses being expected to do fire-watching duties; and whether, in view of their arduous duties and long hours of service, he will exempt nurses from fire-watching.

Mr. H. Morrison

Whole-time nurses are exempted from street fire party duties. As regards fireguard duties at hospitals or other business premises where they work, nurses are eligible for exemption in the same way as women employed in industry. The appropriate authority responsible for fireguard arrangements at the premises has discretion to direct that any woman who works there for exceptionally long hours shall be exempted wholly or partly from such duties.

Mr. Sorensen

In the case of those nurses working long hours, who have no organisation which can appeal for them, what action can they take to prevent undue hardship, not only for themselves, but for others?

Mr. Morrison

They should apply to the appropriate authority. There is well-recognised machinery for that purpose.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that, in many parts of the country, there are people regularly fire-watching where there has never been a bomb and where there is never likely to be one; and is it not possible that their services could be organised in such a way as to provide relief for London?

Mr. Morrison

There has been a great deal of relaxation in various parts of the country. Indeed, there has never been universal compulsory fire-watching, but we must be ready for things that are possible. One of the troubles is that of areas which, never having had a bomb, think they never will, and are not ready for them.