§ Dame Irene Ward
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the shortage of nurses at the Northgate Hospital, near Morpeth, for the mentally handicapped has now been overcome; and if he will give assurances that, where in the region nurses are available, hospitals are permitted to recruit up to the agreed establishment.
§ Mr. Alison
Northgate and District Hospital is at present relatively well staffed with nurses in comparison with other hospitals of the same type, but I am aware that more nurses will be needed to staff the new wards which will be opened later this year: this is under consideration. I am writing more fully in reply to my hon. Friend's letters on this subject.
The nursing staff establishments of hospitals in the region are determined by the hospital management committees concerned, which are free to recruit nurses within the financial allocations made to them by the regional hospital board. The board takes account of hospital management committees' relative needs in determining those allocations.