HC Deb 20 January 1981 vol 997 cc139-40W
Mr. David Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he proposes to increase the consultant establishment employed in the National Health Service by adjusting the ratio between consultant and junior staff.

Dr. Vaughan

The Department's policy, agreed with the medical profession, is

  1. i. that patient care is best provided by fully trained doctors;
  2. ii. that the time doctors spend in training grades should be determined by training, and not service, requirements
and that, therefore, it is necessary for the consultant grade to expand faster than the training grades. For a number of reasons, however, progress in implementing this policy has been slow and the Chief Medical Officer in the Department recently wrote to regional health authority chairmen and presidents of the Royal Colleges and Faculties proposing discussions on how problems which have slowed down its implementation might be tackled.