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Hospital Staffs (Trade Union Membership)

Volume 413: debated on Friday 24 August 1945

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asked the Minister of Health, whether he is aware that one of the reasons for the present shortage of nursing and domestic staff in many institutions is the disinclination or refusal of institutional and other employers to allow their nursing recruits or employees freely to join the trade union of their own individual choice without any pressure or warning advice; that the nursing staff in such institutions are thus deprived of the opportunity of being represented by a trade union official in any personal difficulty; and whether, as a condition of the receipt of any Government grants to E.M.S. hospitals, he will now insist on the right of free association and trade union membership being granted to the nursing and domestic staffs in such institutions.

I should be sorry to hear that any hospital denies to its staff the free right of trade union membership and I have no evidence of any such case. The point raised by my hon. Friend is, however, primarily one for hospital management committees, and would not be an appropriate subject for a condition attached to grants which are paid as reimbursements of the actual cost incurred in arranging for the treatment of E.M.S. patients.