36. Mr. Heller
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking to ensure that all wards at Walton hospital, Liverpool, are properly manned and staffed.
§ Sir George Young
Determination of the staffing levels necessary to provide an adequate service is a matter for the appropriate health authorities, in this case the Sefton area health authority and the Mersey regional health authority. Both authorities are aware of problems at Walton hospital and are giving them urgent attention. I understand that in the spring they became aware of difficulties in providing an appropriate level of nursing care in some wards. For example, although there is an overall shortage of nurses, the ratio of trained to untrained staff is low. Steps have been taken, with some success, to recruit permanent qualified staff and, as a temporary measure, a number of agency nurses have been employed.