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National Health Service

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the resolution of the Representative Body of the British Medical Association, on 31st March, of which a copy has been sent to him, and the undertaking by the council that the association would consult members serving with Armed Forces before making any commitments as to future medical practice; and whether he will postpone taking measures to carry out the proposals for a free universal medical service until the doctors, who will be asked to perform this service, have been given an opportunity of stating their views upon it?

Yes, Sir. I would refer to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Dr. Morgan) on 25th March last.

asked the Minister of Health what is the present number available, respectively, in Great Britain of qualified doctors, qualified pharmacists, qualified opticians, qualified nurses and of other persons concerned in the provision of services or equipment connected with the health of the people; and what steps are being taken to make the most efficient use of this man-power in applying the principles of the Beveridge Report so far as the health services of the nation are concerned?

The following approximate figures may be assistance to my hon. Friend. With regard to the last part of his Question I would refer to the answer which I gave on 15th April to my hon. Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen).

Registered medical practitioners (excluding N. Ireland) in civil practice or in the Forces)49,100
State-registered nurses (on register for England and Wales)99,590
Qualified pharmacists (excluding N. Ireland)25,150
Opticians (ophthalmic and dispensing, excluding N. Ireland)6,270

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order to make the maximum effective use of the services of available doctors in implementing the Beveridge Report, he will institute an investigation into the extent to which doctors could be relieved of routine work by pharmacists in relation to dispensing and carrying out various tests, by qualified opticians in relation to sight-testing and by increased numbers of qualified nurses both for visiting patients and assisting in surgery work?

I certainly intend to consider possibilities of relief of this kind at the appropriate stage of the preparation of my proposals.