§ Dr. Vaughan
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many medical consultants including those employed as university staff, are now or are shortly to be seconded overseas by her Department; and if she will list the numbers of these in each speciality, and also the number of vacancies in each of these specialities, of consultant posts in the NHS.
§ Mrs. Castle
Release of NHS medical staff for periods overseas is a matter for health authorities. My Department's concern is to encourage authorities to consider using their normal discretionary powers where this would support our export effort.
In this connection two doctors are going to Kuwait in April to take up consultant posts in ophthalmology and neurosurgery for a period of 12 months, and one consultant post has been offered in each of the following specialities—paediatric surgery, plastic surgery and orthopaedics. Kuwait would also like quickly to recruit additional consultants in each of the following specialities: ophthalmology (1), pathology (1), haematology (1), orthopaedics (1), paediatrics (1), dermatology (2) gastroenterology (1).
Other countries have expressed general interest but have not specified requirements.667W
Information about NHS consultant posts vacant in England and Wales on 30th September 1974, the latest date for which figures are available, is given below. These figures include posts in process of being filled on the "census" date plus posts which authorities do not wish to fill, as well as any posts in which recruitment is proving difficult.
Speciality NHS Vacancies at 30th Sept. 1974 Orthopaedics 8 Neurosurgery 2 Ophthalmology 4 Plastic Surgery 1 Paediatrics 11 Dermatology 8 Haematology 6
Note. Pathology in this country consists of a number of sub-specialities and a single vacancy figure cannot be given.
Gastroenterology is not identified in staffing returns as a separate speciality.