HC Deb 23 February 1972 vol 831 c1272
22. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total amount paid out in merit awards to hospital consultants in Scotland in 1971; how much was the maximum award; and how many consultants received this amount.

Mr. Monro

Specific information is not yet available, but it is estimated that about £1,320,000 will be paid out in merit awards to hospital consultants in Scotland in the financial year 1971–72. Sixteen consultants received the maximum award of £6,840.

Mr. Gourlay

That is an estimated increase of £109,000 over the £1,211,000 that was paid out in 1970. Is the Minister aware of the great dissatisfaction among many consultants at the arbitrary method of disbursing this huge sum of pin money to the blue-eyed boys in the Scottish teaching hospitals? Will he do something to remove the cloak of secrecy which surrounds the payment of about £6,500 in awards to 16 consultants in Scotland? Will he consider giving the money either to the nurses or to satisfying the urgent needs of hospitals in Scotland?

Mr. Monro

That was a whole series of supplementaries from the hon. Gentleman. The awards are distributed on recommendation of an advisory committee of very distinguished consultants, and this followed the recommendations of the Spens Committee and the Royal Commission many years ago. The reason for not making the information public was set out in the Royal Commission's Report and was unanimously supported then.