HC Deb 25 January 1962 vol 652 cc377-8
1 and 2. Mr. Grey

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what consultations he has had with the universities regarding the number of new faculties of medicine that will be required during the next ten years;

(2) what steps he is taking, in consultation with the university authorities, to reduce the overcrowding in medical schools.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General (Mr. Henry Brooke)

I have asked the University Grants Committee to consider with the universities the implications of a rise in the intake of medical students of 10 per cent. above the level recommended by the Willink Committee. I understand that the Committee are now doing this.

Mr. Grey

Is the Chief Secretary aware that the present position conceding the shortage of doctors is quite alarming even taking into account the assistance which we get from overseas graduates who help to repair the damage caused by the shortage, and that if medical schools are not built we shall be in for a very serious crisis? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that Durham University would welcome the opportunity of having its own medical faculty when it separates from Newcastle and that it has all the facilities for having such a faculty established in the area? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give that point of view his consideration.

Mr. Brooke

With regard to Durham, I feel sure that the University Grants Committee will examine all the implications of the revision. As to the number, I think that the hon. Member appreciates with me the rightness of the decision to go for this 10 per cent. increase.

Mr. Rankin

If there are going to be opportunities for taking in more students of medicine, does the right hon. Gentleman realise that facilities in Scotland are already insufficient? Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he could give some further consideration to the need for a fifth university for Scotland in order to meet this demand?

Mr. Brooke

This is not a question of new universities; this is a question of the University Grants Committee considering with the universities how a rise of 10 per cent. in the number of medical students can best be provided.

Mr. K. Robinson

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that in the opinion of most people the shortage of doctors is of an order far more serious than could be met by the restoration of the 10 per cent. cut, and would he invite the University Grants Committee, in considering this problem and future needs, to take advice from quarters other than the Ministry of Health?

Mr. Brooke

The actual numbers of doctors needed must be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and not for me.

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