§ Mr. Manuel
You have called Question No. 60, Sir, and there was a great delay while the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health got to the Box. His delay was greater than mine on another occasion. Should you not now proceed to the next Question, or leave the Minister out altogether?
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think that the same considerations govern the situation. When an hon. Member does not take the opportunity to ask his Question, in the interests of others I am compelled to move on. But when a Question is asked and the Minister takes some time in transit to the Box, I should not on that account deny to the hon. Member the Answer to his Question. The two must be different.
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Enoch Powell)
The Hospital Plan will not increase the nursing staff required.
§ Mr. Wade
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are already several hospitals which would be half empty had they not recruited staff, doctors and nurses, from the Commonwealth? Is he quite satisfied that when these new hospitals are completed there will be sufficient doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and others to staff the hospitals so that the public may benefit from these much needed new hospitals?
§ Mr. Powell
Yes, Sir. I am aware that there in an important Commonwealth contribution to the staffing of our hospitals, but I am confident that the strengthening of the staff of our hospitals will continue as it has in the last few years and that the Hospital Plan itself will be one of the most important recruiting agents for our hospitals.
Mr. J. Wells
Can my right hon. Friend tell the House Where the Liberal Party was on the night we had a debate on nursing staff?
§ Mr. K. Robinson
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the staffing of hospitals at the moment could hardly be described as adequate so far as nurses are concerned? Would not he further agree that staffing will fall disastrously if he persists in his present policy of treating nurses as he is doing?
§ Mr. Powell
No, Sir. The staffing of our hospitals is more nearly adequate than it has been at any time in the past.