HC Deb 03 March 1969 vol 779 cc9-10
28. Mr. Tom Boardman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will undertake a review of the establishment of hospitals.

Mr. Ennals

No, Sir. Staffing needs are under continuous review by hospital authorities, in the light of guidance on particular aspects given by my Department from time to time and subject to central approval of certain senior medical and administrative posts.

Mr. Boardman

Is not the Minister aware of the urgency of the matter and of the undermanning of hospitals and the overworking of staff brought about by hospital authorities being starved of funds?

Mr. Ennals

There are problems of staffing, but not always for that reason. There are sometimes simply problems of recruitment, which leave some hospitals under-staffed, and the problems of recruitment in some parts of the country are substantial. This is why we are anxious that there should be improvements not only in pay, but in conditions and in career prospects.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

Has the hon. Gentleman any information about a number of hospitals which, though they could obtain the necessary staff, are being held below establishment by regional hospital boards?

Mr. Ennals

I should like notice of that question. Even that would be difficult to establish, because an establishment is a matter for discussion between hospital management committees and regional boards. However, if the hon. Gentlemen puts down another Question, I will do my best to answer it.

Mrs. Renée Short

To increase recruitment, what is my hon. Friend doing to persuade medical schools to train more women students of medicine?

Mr. Ennals

That is a different question. However, as my hon. Friend knows, a substantial increase in the number of medical school places has already been announced and some will undoubtedly be for women students.