HC Deb 16 February 1956 vol 548 cc2516-7
31. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Minister of Labour what further steps he now proposes to take to remedy the shortage of hospital nurses, in view of the failure of the recruitment campaign.

Mr. Iain Macleod

There has been a steady improvement in the nursing staff of hospitals and I do not agree that the recruitment campaign has failed. There is still a serious shortage in the mental nursing service, and my Department, in co-operation with the Ministry of Health, will continue to make special efforts to encourage recruitment to this service.

Mr. Roberts

Does not the Minister agree that there is a grave shortage of nursing staff, and a danger of many hospitals failing to give the proper service, and will he not institute an inquiry to find out whether the conditions and grades are sufficient to attract young men and women into the nursing profession?

Mr. Macleod

That there is a shortage I should not dream of denying, of course, but it is also true that the figures have climbed every single year since 1948 to the end of 1954, the most recent date for which we have figures. I announced fairly recently, when I was Minister of Health, the measures that we were taking in this field, which is of special concern to me, and if there is anything more I can do I shall gladly consult with the Minister of Health.