§ Mrs. Monks
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the future of the School Health Service, in the light of proposals for the reorganisation of the National Health Service.
§ Sir K. Joseph
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I attach very great importance to the rôle of preventive health care in the health and welfare of children and we welcome the proposed transfer of the health inspection and treatment functions from local education authorities to a reorganised National Health Service, which is being announced today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. We believe that to bring the general care of children's health within the National Health Service will facilitate the future development of health services for children. We look forward to receiving from the Working Party on Collaboration between the Health Service and Local Government recommendations in detail as they affect the school health service.
It is our intention to initiate with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, and in consultations with all the interests concerned, a comprehensive review of all child health and school health needs.
We recognise the importance for the future of the School Health Service of 446W the members of the medical, dental, nursing and other professions who are now working in it, and will continue to work in it.
I am not yet in a position to say what grading and other arrangements will be made for the medical and dental staff concerned. These are matters which will have to be discussed with the profession's representatives before final decisions can be reached. It is important that they should enjoy within the National Health Service pay and prospects at least as good as those they have at present. The way in which their contribution to the health care of school children is made may of course be influenced in the longer term by the comprehensive review of school and child health to which I have referred. Medical staff will, however, continue in the period immediately following reorganisation carrying out the work in which they are now engaged but as members of the team of the Area Medical Officer. School dental officers likewise will continue in the work in which they are now engaged, as members of the team of the Area Dental Officer. I am convinced that any longer term developments will still provide ample opportunity for them to continue providing such services.