HC Deb 11 December 1961 vol 651 cc5-6
19. Mr. W. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Health how many full-time qualified nursing staff are employed at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital; and what were the numbers employed in November, 1958, 1959 and 1960.

Miss Pitt

The numbers are respectively 30, 26, 31 and 31.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this eye hospital serves thousands of people in south-east Lancashire and north Cheshire and that the closing of 25 beds has caused great concern in the area and will inevitably mean a postponement of surgery for non-acute cases such as cataracts, which affect old people in particular? Will the hon. Lady urge her right hon. Friend to ask the board of governors to seek a short-term solution by examining the possibility of temporarily transferring trained nurses from within the group to the eye hospital? As a long-term solution, will the hon. Lady look at the possibility of recruitment in Jamaica, the West Indies and other places in which, I am told, there is a reservoir of people who are willing and able to come to this country and who would make an excellent additional contribution to British nursing staffs?

Miss Pitt

The question of recruiting staff must be a matter for the board of governors and I have no doubt that they will read what the hon. Gentleman has said today. The hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that in addition to the beds that have been reopened—details of which I gave in answer to a previous Question and I think I mentioned the figure of ten—a further eight have been reopened.