HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc16-7
17. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the shortage of midwives in East Suffolk, and in Lowestoft in particular; and whether he will strive to improve recruitment by improving salaries and conditions of work.

Mr. R. Thompson

I am aware that there is a shortage of midwives in some areas and I have written to the hon. Member about East Suffolk. The salaries of hospital midwives have recently been improved and those of domiciliary midwives are at present under review by the Whitley Council. Employing authorities are well aware of the need for making conditions of work attractive.

Mr. Evans

Is the Minister aware that Lowestoft has the second highest ratio in the country of domiciliary confinements and that there is need not only for one midwife, as his letter to me indicated, but for two, owing to the reorganisation of the service? Will the hon. Gentleman realise that it is absolutely imperative, in order to secure that the service works, to add to the rewards and improve the amenities for midwives all over the country, and particularly in the area which I represent?

Dr. Summerskill

Is a car available for these midwives in this area or do they travel to and from their work on a bicycle?

Mr. Thompson

I could not answer the right hon. Lady's Question without notice, but, turning to the original Question, on the domiciliary side the East Suffolk County Council has only one vacancy in Lowestoft, and I know that it is doing its best to fill it.