HC Deb 09 December 1963 vol 686 cc17-8
2. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Health what increases there have been in the nursing staff at St. George's Hospital, Hornchurch, since 28th March, 1963;and whether a consultant geriatrician has now been appointed by the regional hospital board.

Mr. Braine

The nursing staff has increased by 17. It has not yet been possible to appoint a consultant geriatrician, and the post has been re-advertised.

Mr. Driberg

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the latter part of that Answer is very disappointing, since this was the brightest gleam of hope in his reply to the Adjournment debate on 28th March last? Can he say how many consultants have considered this post and whether the existing nursing staff—on whom, of course, there is no reflection at all—are being specially trained in this difficult and often unpleasant geriatric work?

Mr. Braine

I do not agree that the Answer is a disappointing one. Despite the difficulties at this hospital, there has been an increase in the nursing staff, including 13 trained staff. The post of consultant geriatrician has been advertised on two occasions, but the applicants interviewed were not considered suitable. A third advertisement has now gone out and the appointments committee will interview applicants on 16th January. Three applications have been received so far.

Mr. K. Robinson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there appear to be an unusual number of complaints about this hospital, many of which have reached me" Is there nothing which the Department can do to assist the hospital on these important matters?

Mr. Braine

I am sure that, with his special knowledge of these matters, the hon. Member will know that continuing adverse publicity does not help recruitment. In this particular case, the hospital authorities are to be congratulated in managing to increase the number of nurses in an area where it has been difficult to effect recruitment up to now.