§ Mr. Soames
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will announce the Government's decisions on the recommendations in the Peat Marwick McLintock review of the United Kingdom Central Council and the four national boards for nursing, midwifery and health visiting.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The Government consulted widely on the Peat Marwick McLintock recommendations and also on proposals drawn up by the four United Kingdom Health Departments to reflect the education and training implications for the health care sector of the White Paper "Working for Patients". We have now come to a view on the main features of the statutory framework for the regulation of the nursing, midwifery and health visiting professions. Future arrangements for organisation and finance of nursing, midwifery and health visiting education have also been decided which reflect the way in which these services are delivered in the four United Kingdom countries. These are set out in detail in written statements which my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and I are issuing today. Copies have been placed in the Library.
In England, I have decided that regional health authorities, in consultation with employers, should in future have the main responsibility for funding pre-registration nursing and midwifery training, rather than sharing that responsibility with the English national board as at present. The resources to be allocated to such training will need to be specified by regional health authorities in a clearly defined and protected budget. Post-registration nurse and midwifery training designed to produce specific professional skills will also, for the time being at least, be funded from a separate and protected regional budget.
With regard to the statutory framework for the regulation of the professions, the Government accept the Peat Marwick McLintock proposals that the United Kingdom central council, rather than the national boards, should be the statutory body to which the professions elect members, and that the whole of the professional conduct function should be centralised at the council. In the light however of the decisions which have been taken on the organisation and finance of professional education, the case made by Peat Marwick McLintock for direct management of colleges of nursing and midwifery in England, Scotland and Wales by their respective national boards largely disappears. We have accordingly decided not to accept the recommendations in this regard. But there will be a continuing role for bodies in each of the four countries of the United Kingdom to accredit institutions and validate courses and to ensure that the council's standards of professional education are met in each country.
The changes proposed will require legislation, the timing of which will depend on the other pressures on the Government's legislative programme.