HC Deb 06 March 1961 vol 636 cc17-8
31. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Health what representations for a salary increase he has received from the staff side of the Optical Whitley Council; and what reply he has made.

Mr. Powell

A claim for increased salaries for opticians in the Hospital Eye Service has been received by the management side of the Optical Whitley Council and is being considered.

Mr. Allaun

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the salary for recently qualified opticians is only £615 a year, whereas they can get from £1,100 to £1,200 in private practice, the maximum salary in hospitals never rising to £1,000? Is it any wonder, therefore, that great hospitals such as Manchester Eye Hospital have only half the necessary stall, which involves long waits by patients, two hours being quite common, and that the staff are sometimes forced to curtail the attention that they give to the patients? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear these facts in mind and give the matter urgent and sympathetic attention?

Mr. Powell

The particular case to which the hon. Member referred is a separate matter from that which is raised in this Question. As regards the hon. Member's general observations, I do not think I ought to comment before I receive the recommendation of the Council.