HC Deb 03 March 1958 vol 583 cc820-1
28. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement on the decisions reached at the meeting of the Joint Consultants Committee held on 27th February to discuss the senior registrar problem.

Mr. Walker-Smith

After a further discussion with officials, the representatives of the Joint Committee expressed a desire to discuss the subject with me. I have intimated my readiness to meet them at an early date.

Mr. Robinson

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say for how long this matter, which was urgent two and a half years ago, is going to drag on? How is it that this Committee managed to complicate what is essentially quite a simple problem? Who are the stumbling blocks to a solution—his Department or the consultants?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am anxious to get an appropriate solution of this problem, the urgency of which I have already recognised in this House, by general agreement if at all possible; but an appropriate solution I must have in any event, and I have no doubt that the Committee will take note of the interest of hon. Members on this subject.

Mr. Cronin

Is it not the case that this meeting on 27th February reached a deadlock because the Minister wanted to make the setting up of the sub-consultant grade a condition for relieving the distress of the registrars?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, I do not think that that represents a full or faithful précis of the Committee's decision. I am looking forward to seeing the Committee myself and discussing the problem with it. I hope the hon. Gentleman does not dissent from what I apprehend is the general view of hon. Members, that there ought to be a solution to this problem, and pretty quickly, too.

Dr. Summerskill

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how many registrars are wholly or partly unemployed while awaiting the decision of the Committee?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, not without notice. Perhaps the hon. Lady will be good enough to put that Question down.