HC Deb 24 February 2004 vol 418 c126
2. Dr. Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest) (Ind)

If he will make a statement on the provision of training for medical engineers for the national health service. [155719]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton)

The Government are increasing the number of scientists and technicians, including medical engineers, employed in the national health service and the number of those people who are entering training. Last year, an additional 1,350 scientists and technicians entered training compared with 1999, an increase of 93 per cent. Over the same period, the number of qualified scientific and technical staff employed in the NHS increased by more thin 8,500, an increase of 16 per cent.

Dr. Taylor

I thank the Minister for that reply. Does he recognise the good work that the Capital medical training centre is doing on the Kidderminster hospital site, in providing vocational training courses for NHS and Ministry of Defence medical engineers? If the Minister who has kindly agreed to visit Kidderminster next week has time, will he meet the manager of the centre so that he can hear more about this extremely successful unit? Will he also encourage local managers to allow this training centre to take over more of a block that might otherwise be demolished? If that block were used, it could produce useful income for the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which is labouring under a large debt at the moment.

Mr. Hutton

I shall certainly recommend to the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman) that, if he has time when he visits Kidderminster, he should visit the service to which the hon. Gentleman has referred. In general terms, we are interested in exploring all opportunities for further increasing the range of training opportunities available to this critically important work force. Obviously, however, such decisions are a matter for the local national health service.