HC Deb 31 July 1961 vol 645 cc926-7
51. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health how many public health inspectors are employed by local authorities; and what is the present estimated national shortage of these inspectors.

Miss Pitt

This information could only be obtained by a special inquiry which I do not think would be justified.

Mrs. Slater

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that there are about 500 to 600 inspectors short and that every local authority is working under a very serious handicap because of the shortage of public health inspectors? Will the Parliamentary Secretary not ask her right hon. Friend to look into this and the methods of recruitment and the payment made to these people?

Miss Pitt

I cannot confirm or deny the figures given by the hon. Lady. I know that there are shortages, not all over the country, but in particular affecting some of the large industrial areas. Steps have been taken to stimulate recruitment. We are now training more than the 200 a year recommended by the working party, and that level is being maintained in the present year. Salaries, of course, are a matter for the National Joint Council.

Dr. Stross

Will the Parliamentary Secretary at least say, accepting that there is a national shortage varying from place to place, just what is the real reason?

Miss Pitt

Because the duties of the inspectors have considerably increased with the clean air obligations and the extension of food control. More inspectors are therefore needed.