HC Deb 02 July 1964 vol 697 cc1520-1
7. Mr. Merlyn Rees

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is aware of the national shortage of speech therapists in the School Health Service, particularly in the City of Leeds; what action he is taking to remedy this; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hogg

Yes, there is a shortage of speech therapists, especially in the North. The training course at Manchester is now producing fully-trained speech therapists. Further developments including a three-year degree course at Newcastle University are being planned, and I have the position under review.

Mr. Rees

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that until very recently in the City of Leeds the education authority had no speech therapists and that only through the greatest of effort were the services of three obtained? Could he inform the House what is the major factor causing the shortage of speech therapists?

Mr. Hogg

Yes, my Department has begun discussions for that reason with the Leeds education authority about the establishment of another training course for this particular purpose. The shortage is mainly in the North, for reasons which are not peculiar to speech therapists.

Mr. K. Robinson

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that one of the causes of the shortage is that the remuneration of speech therapists compares very unfavourably with that of others in the education service and that this arises out of the complications in the Health Service, by which they are employed? Would he and the Minister of Health meet one or two of us from this side of the House to discuss the problem?

Mr. Hogg

The question of salary scales for speech therapists, as the hon. Member suggested, is a matter for the Whitley Council for the Health Service, and any specific question related to that part of the matter would have to be put to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.

Mr. Shinwell

Would it be of advantage to the right hon. and learned Member if he obtained the services of a speech therapist in order to avoid some of the speeches he has made recently?

Mr. Hogg

I should hope that they would be more generally heard and more generally understood.