HC Deb 09 November 1966 vol 735 cc1302-3
31. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the increase in doctors' salaries effective from 1st April, 1966, had not been paid by 20th July, almost four months later.

Mr. Millan

The report of the review body set out only the broad principles of the award and it was necessary for a joint working party of representatives of the professions and the health departments to work out its detailed application to hospital salaries. The award could not be implemented before the working party had completed its task, which was on 27th July.

Mr. MacArthur

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this upset is in direct breach of the undertaking given by the Prime Minister to the House on 4th May? Is he further aware that one of the anomalies created by the statement of 20th July was that the doctors failed to receive their increase, whereas the dentists received theirs, while both stemmed from the same recommendation? Is he aware further that this administrative delay has caused widespread concern amongst and much financial distress to doctors?

Mr. Millan

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman said in the first part of his supplementary question. In the case of the dentists, the discussions with the profession were rather less protracted, but in the case of the doctors I remind the hon. Gentleman that the profession itself accepted the Review Body's recommendations only on 14th June, so that there was a considerable delay there from the Prime Minister's announcement on 4th May. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the particular negotiations on the working party I have referred to were carried out with all speed on the Departments' part.