HL Deb 04 February 1976 vol 367 cc1406-8WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of the shortage of qualified people in the para-medical professions (e.g. physiotherapists, speech-therapists, occupational therapists etc.),

  1. (a) how many persons are receiving full-time or part-time training in these professions, and what is the annual output of trained persons;
  2. (b) how many applicants there are for each training vacancy;
  3. (c) what steps are being taken to increase both the number of applicants and the output of trained persons; and
  4. (d) with whom does responsibility lie for co-ordinating supply and demand in the para-medical professions.


  1. (a) The number of persons currently receiving training in the professions supplementary to medicine and speech therapy in England and Wales and the average annual output of trained persons over the last five years for which figures are available, are as follows:
  2. 1407
  3. (b) Applications are dealt with by the principals of the various schools, and central records of their numbers are not maintained for all the professions. Such evidence as is available indicates that there is no serious overall shortage of training capacity, but applicants with the appropriate educational and other qualifications cannot always be accommodated in the school of their first choice.
  4. (c) The Department of Health and Social Security publishes a series of careers leaflets on these professions and is currently reviewing these. It is hoped that the substantial improvements in pay and career structure following the publication of the Halsbury Report in January 1975 will also be encouraging more applicants. Training provision has been increased recently and further increases are planned. For example, the capacity of existing speech therapy courses has been increased and new degree courses have started at Manchester and Reading Universities. The intake of students on the postgraduate dietetics course at Queen Elizabeth College has more than doubled in the current 1408 rent academic year. In 1975 a new chiropody school was opened in Durham providing 15 places a year and ways of expanding existing chiropody schools are being examined. The greater use of further education establishments has resulted in an increase of training places for physiotherapy students at Coventry and Salford and this year there are similar proposals at Sheffield and Newcastle. It is hoped to open a new school of occupational therapy later this year at Newcastle and the establishment of a joint school of occupational therapy and physiotherapy at Southampton is under consideration.
  5. (d) Responsibility for the overall co-ordination of supply and demand on a national basis in England rests with the Secretary of State for Social Services, although in the case of the professions supplementary to medicine the approval of training courses and qualifications is a matter for the Registration Boards, on which the appropriate professional organisations are represented.

House adjourned at nineteen minutes before nine o'clock