HC Deb 23 November 1964 vol 702 cc886-7
15. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Health what action he will take to increase the number of doctors prepared to serve in hospital casualty departments.

Sir B. Stross

Boards have been asked to plan the redevelopment and staffing of accident and emergency services in the light of advice given by the Standing Medical Advisory Committee and by the Working Party on Hospital Medical Staffing Structure.

Mr. Goodhart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one of the reasons why doctors seem to be increasingly reluctant to apply for posts of this sort is the fear that they may be sued if they make a medical mistake? Will he consider introducing some legal insurance for such doctors?

Sir B. Stross

That is a point that I had not considered, but I will certainly give it consideration now that it has been brought to my attention.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does my hon. Friend realise that a practical way to increase the number of doctors would be to increase their remuneration and improve their conditions of service? As that aspect has not been explored recently, certainly not by the last Government, would he take steps to explore it and increase the number of doctors in that practical manner?

Sir B. Stross

What we have in mind is that all injured persons who require hospital treatment should be taken direct to accident and emergency units staffed and equipped to deal immediately with major injuries and other emergency cases at any hour of the day or night. This would result in a substantial reduction in the existing number of accident and emergency units and provide us with units which would give full staffing cover day or night.