HC Deb 13 June 1972 vol 838 c1246
16. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now send a copy of the Undersecretary of State's letter of 1st May, 1972, to the hon. Member for Nuneaton about whole-time and part-time consultants' appointments in the National Health Service to all regional hospital boards.

Mr. Alison

We are satisfied that employing authorities are aware of the Department's guidance concerning whole-time and part-time consultant appointments.

Mr. Huckfield

But at the end of that letter the hon. Gentleman said: A consultant on a whole-time or maximum part-time contract is expected to devote substantially the whole of his time to the National Health Service and to give it priority on all occasions. Will he now do something to ensure that this is certificated, pictured, framed and enshrined in every private consulting-room in this country?

Mr. Alison

There is no need to do that. Hospital consultants and hospital authorities know very well the terms upon which the contracts are entered into. Indeed, consultants in the overwhelming mass fulfil the terms of their engagements, not only to the letter, but very much more so in the spirit.

Mr. William Price

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board area, 60,000 people are awaiting admission to hospitals, yet in 1971, 10,000 people were allowed to jump the queue? Why does he not have a word with the part-time consultants to try to persuade them to spend a little more time on the 60,000 and a little less on the 10,000?

Mr. Alison

Waiting lists of any size need not arise in cases in which medical need is urgent.