HC Deb 01 May 1967 vol 746 cc78-9
32. Mr. Holland

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to ensure that nurses in National Health Service hospitals do not have to spend time on such domestic duties as sorting linen and washing up after patients' meals.

Mr. Snow

A sub-committee of my right hon. Friend's Standing Nursing Advisory Committee has been studying this question and is expected to report shortly.

Mr. Holland

But would not the Minister agree that, in addition to being a misuse of skill, this practice is a deterrent to nursing recruitment and also a contributory factor to wastage? Does he not feel that the situation justifies a nationwide campaign to recruit more domestic staff for hospitals, without waiting for the Report?

Mr. Snow

If the hon. Gentleman has a case in mind, perhaps he would let us know about it. In 1963 hospital authorities were advised that the counting of soiled linen in hospital wards should cease. My right hon. Friend has recommended hospital authorities to provide central washing-up departments in all new hospitals, and in others where practicable.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Will the Minister take note of what has been said in the House today, and that there is such a considerable shortage of nurses that the whole situation of the nurses—their work, pay and everything else—should be taken fully into account? Will he show some interest in the matter?

Mr. Snow

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman could have heard my original Answer to his hon. Friend. In any event, the recruiting of nurses is encouraging.

Mr. Hamilton

Will the report to which my hon. Friend alluded in his original Answer be made available to the House and the public?

Mr. Snow

I think that that would be possible. I should like to consider the matter first, but there seems to be no objection.