HC Deb 24 October 1966 vol 734 cc626-8
11. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Health what study he is making of the problems of junior doctors in hospitals.

Mr. K. Robinson

I have asked hospital authorities to review local conditions of junior hospital doctors and, following a discussion with representatives of the profession, I have told them that I wish to undertake jointly with the profession as soon as they are ready a general review of matters affecting the work of junior hospital doctors.

Mr. Dalyell

In the establishment of future priorities, can we take it that the case of the junior doctor will have a high priority?

Mr. Robinson

This is, shall we say, the next negotiation on my list, and I am hoping that it will start very soon.

Mr. van Straubenzee

In the discussions to which the Minister refers, would he include the mechanism for an apparent career structure for the young hospital doctor?

Mr. Robinson

Yes, Sir. This is a factor which will undoubtedly loom very large in those discussions.

17. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister of Health if he will increase the remuneration of young hospital doctors in order to avert the danger that many of them may emigrate, to the detriment of the National Health Service.

Mr. K. Robinson

A substantial increase in salary with effect from 1st October is due to be paid at the end of the year.

Mr. Fisher

I am very glad to have that assurance, because I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would agree that, if it is a question of cash, the proper staffing of our hospitals should have a higher priority than the provision of free aspirins for people who can afford to pay for them.

Mr. Robinson

As the hon. Gentleman knows, these increases were recommended by an independent review body, and I am glad to know that they will now take effect from 1st October on 31st December.

Mr. Molloy

With regard to the staffing of hospitals, will my right hon. Friend urgently consider improving the conditions of nurses as well as doctors?

Mr. Speaker

Order. This Question is about doctors.

31. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Health whether he will give an assurance that, upon the junior hospital doctors forming a trade union and affiliating to the Trades Union Congress, his Department will negotiate with them direct on remuneration and conditions of employment.

Mr. K. Robinson

It is for the profession to propose who should represent them in negotiation.

Mr. Pavitt

If these doctors form a fully constituted trade union, has the Minister any right to deny them the right of representation? Is he aware of the tremendous amount of frustration there is among junior doctors in feeling that they are not fully represented?

Mr. Robinson

I know that many junior doctors have expressed this view. I am very glad to acknowledge the importance of junior medical staff and the value of their services, but negotiations on conditions are inevitably the concern of medical staff of all grades and must, therefore, be conducted on a fully representative basis.