§ 18. Mr. Boyden
asked the Minister of Health to what extent delays in surgical operations are caused by the shortage of anaesthetists.
§ Mr. Braine
Shortage of consultant anaesthetists may caused some delay in non-urgent cases. Additional posts are being created.
§ Mr. Boyden
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that in some areas anaesthetists spend up to fifteen hours in the theatre? Is he not aware that this can cause danger to the patients? Will he make an effort to increase the number of consultants and senior anaesthetists and do something at least to plan the use of anaesthetists so that patients are not subject to this kind of risk?
§ Mr. Braine
I am not aware of any delay in urgent cases caused by shortage of anaesthetists. The number of senior registrars in training as anaesthetists is being increased in order to increase the number of consultants, but the process obviously must be gradual. Senior registrar posts must give adequate training, and candidates for them must be of proper standard. Therefore, the answer to the hon. Gentleman's last question is that we are examining now with the Joint Consultants' Committee the reports of boards on their long-term reviews of medical staffing.