HC Deb 23 October 1961 vol 646 c545
3. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health what advice he has given or proposes to give to hospital authorities with regard to the placing of certain hospital services, such as catering and the cleaning of wards, in the hands of outside contractors; and what his policy is on this matter.

Mr. Powell

Experiments are being made in the use of outside contractors. Pending the outcome no general policy has been recommended to hospital authorities.

Mr. Robinson

Would not the Minister agree that in principle it is desirable that these services should be kept within the control of the hospital authorities themselves? Are they not driven to these expedients only because they are unable to pay competitive wages and salaries to these grades of staff?

Mr. Powell

Each service must be looked at on its merits. The guiding consideration must be economy and efficiency in the broadest sense, but I am not prejudiced in either direction and I shall certainly look at the outcome of these experiments carefully.