HC Deb 28 February 1955 vol 537 cc1710-1
35. Mr. Bowden

asked the Minister of Health what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that the present salary scales are sufficiently attractive to encourage young doctors to enter hospital service rather than enter general practice.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The salaries of hospital medical staff are a matter for the Medical Whitley Council in the first instance; but I know that the need to keep a proper balance in recruitment was an important factor in the agreement on increased salaries reached by the Council a year ago.

Mr. Bowden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the difficulties which are experienced by many hospitals in the provinces in obtaining and recruiting junior medical staff?

Mr. Macleod

Indeed I am. It would be a mistake, however, to link those difficulties entirely with problems of pay. In many cases they arise because the hospitals are remote or unattractive in themselves. As far as pay is concerned, the agreement last year did a good deal to restore the balance which was upset by the Danckwerts award.

Mr. Snow

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it would be a very great pity indeed if the provision of practitioners for the countryside were in any way jeopardised? Is he aware that there are still many rural areas under-doctored?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir.