HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc15-6
29. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health what organisations he is consulting on the question of a chiropody service.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

I am not at persent consulting any organisations about the possible extension of a chiropody service as part of the National Health Service, if that is what the hon. Lady has in mind.

Mrs. Slater

I hope the Minister of Health will not lose sight of the fact that there is urgent necessity for something to be done to establish a national chiropody service under the National Health Service. If he arrives at that situation, may we take it that he will see that in any such service only fully qualified chiropodists are employed?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I appreciate the value of an extended chiropody service. As to the second point of the supplementary question, the memorandum which the Society of Chiropodists was good enough to send me was concerned rather with the matters of provision than with the detailed questions of qualification, but, of course, I have that in mind as well.

Dame Irene Ward

Would my right hon. and learned Friend agree with me that various Ministers of Health long before him have all agreed that a national chiropody service for old-age pensioners is an objective? Is he also aware that Ministers of Health always said that what stood in their way was the difficulty of getting money for it? Is he making representations to get money, or does his Answer to the hon. Lady mean that he has gone a step backwards; I hope not, because if so he will get a crack on the head.

Mr. Walker-Smith

There is no issue as to the desirability of the objective of an extended chiropody service, but I was in fact answering a Question about consultations in connection with the chiropody service and not about the means of financing it.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does not the Minister feel it is time to enter discussions with these bodies about the development of the chiropody service, because there is a great deal of information now available which was not available before? If he has not started, when will he start to consult these bodies, including the National Corporation for the Care of Old People?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I do not know whether the hon. Member understands the method suggested by the Society of Chiropodists. If it is possible to extend this service, the obvious way to do it, I should think, would be by an extension of the service under the existing provisions of Section 28 of the National Health Service Act.