HC Deb 30 July 1953 vol 518 cc1506-7
3. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the resolutions approved at the annual meeting of the Association of Hospital Management Committees in June, with reference to the recruitment of student nurses and the difficulties experienced in recruitment, due to the actions by the General Nursing Council in endeavouring to raise the present educational entrance examination, and lengthening the time between school leaving age and eligibility for the nursing profession, copies of which have been forwarded to him; and, in view of the serious situation these alterations can create, what steps he proposes to take to ensure a continued adequate recruitment of nurses.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

Yes, Sir, my right hon. Friend has received these resolutions and is considering them. There is no educational entrance examination for student nurses, and no such examination can be instituted without my right hon. Friend's approval, which he has hitherto refused to give. My right hon. Friend is watching carefully the effect of the rule which makes the age of 18 the minimum age for entry to training.

Mrs. Braddock

As the matter is giving the very gravest concern to every hospital management committee, will the Parliamentary Secretary ensure that during the Recess, if necessary, it is referred to the Central Health Services Council for careful investigation, because there will have to be a very full discussion on the subject next Session?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I can assure the hon. Lady that my right hon. Friend is watching progress in this matter very carefully.

Mr. K. Robinson

Is the hon. Lady aware that, whatever effect this may have on general nursing students—it will probably be very serious—its effect on recruiting for mental nursing will be absolutely disastrous? Will she and her right hon. Friend do their utmost to get the General Nursing Council to think again about the matter?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

The hon. Gentleman should also bear in mind that if there was any branch which required the additional seniority, it would be the mental side.