HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 c2081
52. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that the shortage of veterinary surgeons employed by his Department in Somerset is such that food production is retarded and farmers are often unable to have obligatory tests carried out; and what action he will take to obviate this difficulty.

Mr. T. Williams

There is at present a general shortage of veterinary surgeons for both official duties and private practice. There is, however, little delay in carrying out official tuberculin tests in Somerset, though I understand that a number of veterinary surgeons have waiting lists of clients anxious to have the preliminary private tests of their herds made. With regard to the last part of the Question, arrangements have already been made, as part of the policy embodied in the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1948, to increase the flow of graduates into the profession, but naturally it will be some time before the full effect of these measures can be felt.

Mr. Collins

Can my right hon. Friend give any estimate of when he hopes that the demand for veterinary surgeons will be met?

Mr. Williams

I am afraid I cannot because that depends on the rate of recruitment of new students and their departure from the various universities.

Lieut-Commander Braithwaite

Has not the treatment of the doctors had a deleterious effect on recruitment for the veterinary profession?

Mr. Williams

I should think that it has helped considerably.