HC Deb 29 January 1963 vol 670 cc728-9
1. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what progress has been made in implementing the recommendation of the Porritt Working Party on Medical Aid to the Developing Countries, to operate co-ordinating machinery for placing student nurses from overseas in suitable posts in Britain.

The Secretary for Technical Co-operation (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

The arrangements for direct contact between matrons of training hospitals in Britain and prospective nursing trainees from Commonwealth countries are continuing satisfactorily. There are at present over 9,000 nursing students from these countries training in British hospitals. My Department, in consultation with the High Commissions and Students Officers of Commonwealth Governments in London, is acting as a clearing house in case of need and so providing such co-ordinating machinery as seems necessary.

Mr. Boyden

What is the right hon. Gentleman's Department doing about the individual students, unsponsored students, which was the point of the Porritt Committee? Has his Department staff to handle them, and are the regional hospital boards co-operating with his Department in this matter?

Mr. Vosper

I am discussing all these proposals with Sir Arthur Porritt next week and I will have regard to that point. Generally speaking, unsponsored students are not covered by my Department but are covered by the satisfactory arrangements with the individual hospitals. If Sir Arthur Porritt and his colleagues think there is room for improvement, I will, of course, consider it.

2. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what schemes are being developed to train, in Britain, groups of student nurses from the developing countries, following the recommendation of the Porritt Working Party.

Mr. Vosper

A successful example is the scheme for the training of 200 Malayan nurses in Britain. The students were selected by the Malayan Government and the arrangements for training were made by my Department and the Ministry of Health in consultation with regional hospital boards. 153 students have so far been placed for training in 55 hospitals. I shall be happy to try to make similar arrangements for other developing countries.

Mr. Boyden

Is the right hon. Gentleman in contact with the Government of Nigeria, who have been very progressive in the educational fields in this way? Are there any developments there, and also, for example, in Sierra Leone?

Mr. Vosper

There are some Nigerian nurses in this country at a more advanced level under Government arrangements. Those Nigerian nurses at student level are under the unsponsored arrangements. It is open to Nigeria to apply as Malaya did for a scheme of this nature.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Will the Government take the initiative through our High Commissioners in the Commonwealth countries and encourage them to draw attention to these facilities?

Mr. Vosper

I will. I intend to draw the attention of all overseas governments to the Porritt recommendations, but I cannot advise them to apply for this form of technical assistance as opposed to some form of other priority.