HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 cc552-3
20. Lord Balniel

asked the Minister of Health whether he will ask the General Nursing Council for England and Wales to require a minimum educational standard for nurses for the mentally sick and mentally subnormal.

Mr. Powell

I will consider this as soon as training for the roll has reached a sufficient scale.

Lord Balniel

While accepting that there is a shortage of nurses in this important part of the register, is it not a fact that recruiting is improving? Is it not also a fact that most hospitals demand an educational standard which is in fact higher than that laid down by the General Nursing Council? Is not this an appropriate moment to raise the educational minimum standards?

Mr. Powell

My noble Friend is right on both points, but before making the standard compulsory in mental hospitals it seems to be right that there should be wider facilities for the alternative training, that is, training for the roll, before making this mandatory.

Mr. B. Harrison

Does not my right hon. Friend think that by raising the standards of recruits we might make this a more attractive service for people to enter?

Mr. Powell

I think that is very likely. In the last year or two increases in entry standards have gone hand in hand with improvement in recruitment, but I thought it right that the alternative form of training should be more widely available before the new standards are made mandatory.