HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc455-6W
Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many dis- putes have taken place in the social services over the last three years.

Mr. Deakins

My Department does not collect statistics of industrial disputes in local authority social services departments. The delivery of social services is the responsibility of the individual authorities, who are not required to notify my Department when difficulties arise. If a major dispute arises my Department is kept informed of possible implications through the regional social work service.

Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, if he will invite the Royal Commission on the National Health Service to examine the factors behind industrial disputes and their long-term effect on hospital and community care.

Mr. Ennals

The Royal Commission has already made clear in its booklet "The Task of the Commission" (HMSO, 1976) that consideration of staffing matters and their effect on the care of patients is one of the most important areas of its work. I see no need, therefore, to invite it specifically to examine the issues referred to.