HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc14-5
30. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to improve recruitment of pharmacists into the hospital service; and what further steps he has taken to give guidance to hospital management committees on the implementation of suggestions made in the report of the Central Health Services Council's Sub-committee on the hospital pharmaceutical service.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Advice based on the recommendations made by a Subcommittee of the Standing Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee has recently been sent to hospital authorities. A claim for the revaluation of the salaries of hospital pharmacists has recently come before the Whitley Council.

Wing-Commander Bullus

Would not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that a certain urgency attaches to the creation of the right conditions to attract recruits to this service?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes, it is certainly a very important service. Here again, the Whitley Council will no doubt progress as fast as it can with the matter before it. In addition to that, we are anxious to get the best deployment of the available pharmacists that we have.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how many vacancies there are outstanding at the moment for hospital pharmacists? Is it not true that there has been a rather serious increase in the number of vacancies? Is this not a serious matter for the Health Service?

Mr. Walker-Smith

It would be most helpful, in order to get the precise figure, if the hon. Gentleman would table that question, but, although there are staffing difficulties in some hospitals, I am glad to say that the number of pharmacists in the hospital service is increasing, albeit rather slowly.