HC Deb 13 March 1961 vol 636 cc966-7
23. Lord Balniel

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in some hospitals the conditions laid down for the employment of young nursing cadets have not been complied with; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Powell

Yes, Sir. I have recently asked hospitals to ensure compliance with the conditions.

Lord Balniel

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that the recent questionnaire, which showed that 770 hospitals were employing juvenile hospital cadets, revealed that in some of these hospitals juveniles were being asked to work longer hours than the recommended maxima for adults and that one-third of the hospitals were failing to comply with my right hon. Friend's recommendation that one day a week should be set aside for part-time education? Is he further aware that in some of the hospitals these children are being asked to work at night and are being asked to work in operating theatres and in general wards, all of which is prohibited by his regulations? How will my right hon. Friend enforce his regulations? Will he, for example, consider publishing the names of the hospitals which abuse the regulations?

Mr. Powell

Yes, I am aware of the circumstances to which my noble Friend referred, and, indeed, that is the reason for the issue of my circular. If I have any reason to think that it is not being fully and punctually complied with, I shall call for returns and I shall take individual action.

Mr. K. Robinson

While not attempting in any way to condone the practices of which the right hon. Gentleman's noble Friend has complained, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to do anything to discourage the development of these very desirable nursing cadet schemes, which do not receive all the encouragement they might from the nursing profession?

Mr. Powell

One of the main ways in which they can be encouraged is to ensure that proper conditions for these cadets are observed.