HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc8-9
26. Mrs. Knight

asked the Minister of Health if he will take steps to place the salary rates of psychiatric social workers on an equivalent basis with those of other workers in the social services.

Mr. K. Robinson

This is primarily a matter for the negotiating bodies concerned, who take into account the relevant work and responsibilities of the several groups of workers in the social services.

Mrs. Knight

But would the Minister, who is, after all, not unconnected with the results of the inquiry, not recognise that social workers do an important and arduous and very difficult job, and psychiatric workers as much as any of them, and that there ought to be parity in their payment?

Mr. Robinson

Interdepartmental discussion is proceeding on co-ordination, training, recruitment and deployment of social workers generally, but remuneration is a matter for the negotiating bodies which deal with the different services and they need to have regard to the levels of work and responsibility as well as levels of qualification. The matter is under consideration.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that psychiatric social workers give exceptionally valuable services and provide continuing care for psychiatric patients not only in hospitals but also in their own homes, and that therefore their wage and salary claims deserve very sympathetic consideration?

Mr. Robinson

I agree that they are a most valuable body of workers in the health and welfare services but, as my hon. Friend knows, remuneration is a matter for the appropriate Whitley Council in the Service.