HC Deb 07 May 1953 vol 515 cc556-8
30. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health to what extent there has been an improvement in the distribution of nursing staff among hospitals as a result of the reviews of hospital staffs made at his request by hospital authorities.

Mr. Iain Macleod

It is too early to assess the results of the reviews of hospital staffs, but I hope that they will make a useful contribution to the improvement in the distribution of nursing staff which I am seeking to achieve by this and other means.

Mr. Sorensen

In the meantime is anything being done to secure a more equitable distribution of the nurses available, since some of the hospitals are virtually understaffed and others grossly overstaffed?

Mr. Macleod

That was one of the thoughts in my mind when I issued the circular which has received so much criticism, but other progress is going on all the time. The line that seems most promising at the moment is the seconding of nurses, which is being done increasingly over the country, particularly to sanatoria.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will the Minister at the same time make sure that there is no suggestion of compulsory secondment, in view of the attitude which I am sure the nursing associations would take on the matter?

33. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Health what steps have been taken on the advice of the Mental Health Advisory Council and others to recruit additional staff for mental deficiency nursing.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

The Standing Mental Health and Nursing Advisory Committees have not yet completed their study of the problem, but they have tendered interim advice to my right hon. Friend, in the light of which he hopes to issue a memorandum of guidance to the management committees concerned in the course of the next few weeks. He is also considering, with my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour, the desirability of devoting the resources available for recruitment publicity in the current financial year largely to the recruitment of mental and mental deficiency nurses.

Mr. Braine

Whilst that is very satisfactory, may I ask the Minister whether consideration is being given in the case of male staff to the provision of housing accommodation near the institutions, having regard to the fact that the staffing shortage is probably a more serious matter than shortage of accommodation?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

We have all these things under consideration.