HC Deb 18 July 1960 vol 627 cc5-6
13. Mr. K. Lewis

asked the Minister of Health what are the total numbers of agency nurses employed, and authorised to be employed, in hospitals in each of the Metropolitan regional hospital boards.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The numbers at present authorised are:

North-West 26
North-East Nil
South-East 6
South-West 21
The numbers actually employed vary from time to time, but at a recent date were 25, nil, 2 and 21 for those regions, respectively.

Mr. Lewis

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, however attractive it may be to employ agency nurses where there is an under-establishment, there is the great danger that these nurses come out of the normal pool and, therefore, over-employment of them may be not only expensive but may take away from the number of nurses available for staff posts?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I think that we have those considerations in mind. As long ago as 1949, hospitals were informed that the employment of agency nurses on remuneration higher than that in the Whitley Agreement or recommended by the Rushcliffe Committee should be terminated as soon as possible. Since then these agency arrangements have been entered into only with the approval of the Minister, who takes all these considerations into account.

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