HC Deb 18 July 1960 vol 627 cc7-8
16. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Health what steps he has taken to see that the 110 vacancies for therapeutic dietitians have been filled; and with what results.

Miss Pitt

Salaries were substantially increased last October and, with the independent professional status which therapeutic dietitians will attain under the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Bill, my right hon. and learned Friend hopes that more people will be encouraged to enter the profession. He is considering what advice might usefully be given to hospital authorities on how to make the best use of the available therapeutic dietitians and reduce wastage.

Mr. Boyden

Is it still the position that about one-half of the dietitians are in the teaching hospitals and that in the provinces two-thirds of the hospital management committees have no advice at all?

Miss Pitt

I am not able to give the specific figures without notice, but a survey of the work of therapeutic dietitians in the hospital service has been carried out by the Department in conjunction with the King Edward's Hospital Fund for London and its results will shortly be published. My right hon. and learned Friend is considering issuing to hospital authorities, on the basis of the survey, advice about ways of making more effective use of the dietitians now in the service and of future recruits. I believe that the suggestion will also tend to reduce unnecessary wastage.

Mr. Marsh

Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that the achievement of independent professional status is no effective substitute for higher salaries as an inducement to recruitment?

Miss Pitt

I should have thought that both were important. As I said in my answer, salaries were increased last October. They range from £550 for the newly-qualified entrants to £910 for a dietitian in charge of a large department. These increases represented awards ranging from 10 to 20 per cent.

Mr. Shinwell

On a point of order. Is it necessary for Ministers, in reply to supplementary questions, to read out the whole of the brief that is given them by their Department?

Mr. Speaker

I should like to think about that later on.