HC Deb 18 June 1953 vol 516 cc1179-80
41. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Health if he will, in view of the shortage of nurses, take steps to arrange a system of pre-entry training and reduce the period of general training by a short period to all pre-entrants.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

Pre-nursing courses approved by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education and the General Nursing Council already exist in many areas, and the local education authorities are encouraged to provide additional courses wherever they are needed. Any reduction of the general training period for students who have completed such a course would be a question for the General Nursing Council. Such students are already admitted to Part I of the Preliminary Examination before entering on the nurse-training course.

Mr. Awbery

Can an arrangement be made for the training of these girls between 16 and 18? Girls of 16 are anxious to train as nurses but cannot enter the profession at 16 and, during these two years, lose the desire to become nurses, with the result that we lose nurses from the profession.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

As I informed the hon. Gentleman in my reply, such courses were under way, and in the year 1951–52, for example, there were 655 attending full time and 987 attending part-time courses in further education establishments for just this age group of persons. The shortage now in the general nursing service is more limited, and our real problem is in mental nursing.

Mr. Awbery

Is anything being done to encourage these girls to enter the nursing profession?