HC Deb 02 December 1968 vol 774 cc1030-1
15. Mr. Dean

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has for relieving the present shortage of operating theatre nurses.

Mr. Snow

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on the 18th November to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Maurice Macmillan).—[Vol. 773. c. 211.]

Mr. Dean

Will the hon. Gentleman say when the report is expected, and will he comment on the alarming reports from many parts of the country that staff vacancies are not being filled because there is no money to pay the salaries?

Mr. Snow

The latter point raised by the hon. Gentleman is at present receiving the urgent attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. It is important to remember that the total of all nursing staff is now at the highest ever recorded level. We are taking steps to try to relieve nurses with special skills of unnecessary duties. The hon. Gentleman will know that it is not possible to lay down a hard and fast rule about the number needed in operating theatres, for instance, since the design of these theatres is so varied and makes different demands.