HC Deb 11 July 1972 vol 840 cc1390-1
17. Mr. Torney

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now take immediate action to improve the pay and conditions of junior hospital doctors.

Sir K. Joseph

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister informed the House on 23rd June of the Government's readiness to accept the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body's recent recommendations, which include average salary increases for junior hospital doctors of between 7½ per cent. and 14½ per cent. Aspects of their conditions of service are regularly discussed between the Health Departments and representatives of the professions, including representatives of junior doctors, and I would expect the improvement there has been over recent years to continue.

Mr. Torney

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the appalling conditions that exist for junior hospital doctors, particularly in Yorkshire? Doubtless the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the document "More in Sorrow", which is a survey of the Sheffield Regional Board. He must be aware of the appallingly low pay and very long hours, and the terrible conditions under which some of these unfortunate young people have to work. The lives of many thousands of people are at stake in the hands of young hospital doctors. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that their fight back is hindered by the fact that they are inhibited because they are fearful of victimisation if they fight their own case? What will the Minister do about it—and do quickly?

Sir K. Joseph

As for the extra duty allowances and the minimum time off, I am reviewing the working of arrangements in consultation with the professions and hospital authorities. But the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers goes out of its way to say that many of the grievances of junior doctors should best be dealt with by approaches by them to their hospital authorities.