§ 2. Mr. Wallace
asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken to remedy the general shortage of pharmacists throughout the country, particularly within the National Health Service.
§ 47. Mr. Gurden
asked the Minister of Health what is the percentage and numbers of short supply of pharmacists in the hospitals of Birmingham.
§ Mr. Snow
We have no evidence that there is any overall shortage of registered 66 pharmacists though there are local shortages in particular areas. In the Birmingham hospitals there are 18½ whole-time equivalent vacancies, or 34 per cent. My right hon. Friend is studying a report he has received recently from the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain on a survey analysing the numbers and occupational distribution of registered pharmaceutical chemists.
As to salaries of hospital pharmacists and other remedies, I would refer the hon. Members to my right hon. Friend's replies of 30th January, 1967, to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Maurice Macmillan), and 8th August, 1966, to the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine).—[Vol. 740, c. 5; Vol. 733, c. 232.]
§ Mr. Wallace
But would not my hon. Friend agree that if there were an extreme shortage in some areas, and there were enough, or perhaps even a surplus, in other areas, some measures should be taken to transfer pharmacists to the hospital to meet emergencies?
§ Mr. Snow
I think we should have to consider what powers are available on the direction of pharmacists, which I do not think exist, but in any event there has been some improvement in recruitment since the salaries were raised last year by quite a substantial amount. There has been some improvement in recruitment.
§ Mr. Gurden
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that what he said conflicts with what the pharmacists say, that 170 vacancies were advertised in the January pharmaceutical journals, and that Cuxson Gerrard, a company near Birmingham, has closed one of its plants which manufactures these vital and essential fluids?
§ Mr. Gurden
Cuxson Gerrard, a company near Birmingham, has closed down one of its factories which makes these essential fluids.
§ Mr. Braine
The hon. Gentleman spoke about some improvement in the position. Can he say what improvement, and can 67 he give the House any indication why there is this shortage in an essential grade?