HC Deb 18 June 1974 vol 875 cc187-8
5. Mr. Dixon

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long she expects her interim arrangements relating to the use of cars for private purposes by midwives, nurses and health visitors in Cornwall to continue.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health (Dr. David Owen)

I expect that guidance on the long-term arrangements will be issued very early next year.

Mr. Dixon

Will the hon. Gentleman be rather more specific? Unless some guidance is given in the near future it will be difficult for the authority in Cornwall, or for authorities in any other part of the country, to ensure the long-term provision of midwives, health visitors and others over an extended period. Something must be decided sooner than next year.

Dr. Owen

I recognise the problem. However, as the hon. Gentleman knows, those health authority staff who were previously employed by the local authority are being treated in the same way as previously under the terms of an agreement that has been negotiated. No one in present posts will suffer as a result of the difference between the two.

Mr. Molloy

Is my hon. Friend prepared to examine the situation that now exists concerning health visitors and midwives, who sometimes find it exceedingly difficult to make ends meet because they incur expenses travelling round to do the jobs that they are employed to do and have to pay those expenses out of their own pockets?

Dr. Owen

Staff who are permitted to use an official car for private purposes have to pay for such mileage used, but they are compensated when working on official duties.