§ 5. Mr. Collins
asked the Minister of Health in how many regions the recruitment of nurses has been suspended or reduced because of the instruction to hospital management committees that recruitment of nursing staff up to approved establishment can only be made on condition that the salaries of staff so recruited can be met from the approved estimates.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
Full information is not available, but it is obvious that improvements and developments, including increases in staff, can only be made if the cost can be met within the allocations.
§ Mr. Collins
Does that mean that when the Minister reviews his estimates for next year he will allow for increases in staff, particularly in those hospitals which are at present admittedly understaffed?
§ Mr. Macleod
Yes. One of the main items in the new moneys for which the different authorities have asked is, of course, their expectation of increasing the numbers of staff available to them.
§ 45. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Minister of Health, in view of the shortage of nurses and student nurses, what further steps have been taken to increase recruitment, particularly for mental nursing, both from English and also from colonial girls; and, in view of the disproportionate number of nurses and student nurses in traditional London teaching hospitals, what action he is taking to divert their services to other hospitals where a shortage exists.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)
The action taken both by my right hon. Friend and by my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service to increase the recruitment of nurses and improve the staffing of mental hospitals, where the shortage is mainly to be found, covers too wide a field to be dealt with in the limits of a Parliamentary answer. But among other matters he has it in mind to invite the teaching hospitals to consider with him whether more might not be done to second student nurses to mental hospitals as part of their training.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does the hon. Lady agree that it seems scandalous that many of the traditional teaching hospitals in London are overstaffed compared with many hospitals around London, where there is very grave understaffing? Could not the Department try to transfer some from the overstaffed hospitals to the understaffed hospitals, and vice versa?
§ Miss Hornsby-Smith
A certain amount has been done by the standstill of establishments with just that result. There is an improvement, but not in the mental hospitals. That method has helped the other hospitals. It is fair to say thatthe staffing figures for the general and teaching hospitals are not wholly comparable with the others.