HC Deb 21 January 1974 vol 867 cc1185-6
13. Mr. Denzil Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from representatives of National Health Service staff in Wales regarding the problems arising from the reorganisation of the administrative structure of the health service ; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. Peter Thomas

I have had letters from staff interests and from hon. Members. Replies have varied according to the nature of the representations. I have at all times urged that staff should be kept fully informed and consulted on all matters that affect them.

Mr. Davies

Does the Secretary of State realise that, despite his desire to keep the staff informed, there is still considerable anxiety among them about their future rôle under the new area health authorities? Will he now give an assurance that a substantial majority of staff will know by the end of this month what their duties and responsibilities will be under the new authorities when constituted?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I appreciate that there is anxiety among the staff. The matter was referred to at some length when the hon. Gentleman wrote to my hon. Friend the Minister of State, and I do not think I can add anything to the somewhat lengthy reply which my hon. Friend gave on 10th January.

Sir A. Meyer

Does my right hon. and learned Friend appreciate that he has still some way to go before he allays the discontent among many practising doctors in North Wales that they are not being adequately represented on the area health authorities?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I understand that there have been complaints on this matter, but I am satisfied that the medical representation is adequate.

Mr. George Thomas

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the morale of National Health Service employees is absolutely at rock level, thanks to the way in which he has handled the reorganisation? Will he show a greater sense of urgency in this matter in trying to restore the morale of people who want to do nothing more than give good public service?

Mr. Peter Thomas

The right hon. Gentleman does not assist by exaggerating. I do not agree that morale is at rock level. I agree that concern has been expressed, but one thing I am very happy about is that the staff commission which has been at work has met very little criticism.

Mr. Hooson

What increase is there in the number of administrative personnel in the new organisation as compared with the old, what will be the increased cost, and have the Cabinet considered what effect this will have on the country's inflationary position?

Mr. Peter Thomas

With notice, I shall be happy to answer that question.