§ 9. Mr. Dalyell
asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to increase the supply of trained chiropodists.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Since much chiropodic disease seemingly unnecessarily immobilises people for relatively trivial reasons, will not the Minister take steps to make 12 it possible for rather more mature health workers to study chiropody?
§ Mr. Braine
The whole question of the future of this profession does not rest with my right hon. Friend; this is one of the professions supplementary to medicine. However, I take the hon. Member's point and everything turns on the number of people entering the profession and practising in it. I am glad to say that the number of people who started training during the present academic year is more than twice the figure for four years ago.
Is the Minister aware that there is a tremendous shortage of chiropodists and that my local authority has had the greatest difficulty in appointing a full-time one? Does he not consider that he should consult the Minister of Education on the possibility of encouraging more people to enter what is, I understand, becoming a profession with a four-year training course? Should not young people be encouraged to take up this work, particularly because of its vital importance from the point of view of the care of the aged?
§ Mr. Braine
I agree with the hon. Lady's remarks generally, and it may be that registration, which is now in process and which will do much, we hope, to raise the status of the profession, will help to maintain and increase the number of young people coming into it.