§ 16. Mr. Wellbeloved
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many nurses registered by the General Nursing Council and employed by private hospitals in the Southern regional health authority were trained by the National Health Service.
§ 21. Mr. Eastham
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many nurses registered by the General Nursing Council and employed by private hospitals in Manchester were trained by the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
Surely the hon. Gentleman must agree that it would be scandalous for profit-making private medicine to receive a massive subsidy from the taxpayer and ratepayer, because by and large, nurses and doctors are trained at public expense in Britain? Will he give an 125 understanding that he will ensure that profit-making private medicine pays an absolute contribution towards the training of nursing staff?
§ Dr. Vaughan
I am glad to tell the House that the private sector is discussing with us how it can extend the amount of training of staff within its hospitals. We see great benefits deriving to the National Health Service from a proper partnership between the private sector and the NHS.
§ Mr. Eastham
If it costs as much as £40,000 to train a nurse, does the hon. Gentleman agree that we should introduce urgently some machinery whereby taxpayers are fully reimbursed for such a large sum?
§ Dr. Vaughan
Discussions are taking place. It is clear that the hon. Gentleman has not been reading the reports in his local newspaper. The opening of a local private hospital will provide another 400 jobs in that area.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Is it not becoming a scandal that 1,200 acute beds in London are draining areas such as the Southern region of skilled theatre nurses, renal dialysis nurses and other nurses who are in short supply? Will the Government do something about getting the private sector either to pay towards their training or to introduce a crash programme to get more nurses so that the NHS is not starved of these skills?
§ Dr. Vaughan
There is a shortage in certain nursing specialties. We are doing our best to increase the number of nurses going into them. We are having discussions with the private sector.
§ Mr. Aitken
Bearing in mind the record number now registering for private health insurance, not least because members of trade unions are opting for such insurance, does my hon. Friend agree that it would be wrong to disqualify nurses from operating and fulfilling a service in the private sector?
§ Mr. Terry Davis
Is not the Minister's idea of a partnership one that means that there should continue to be an opportunity for private business men to rip off the NHS?