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Nurses (Shortage)

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 8 May 1947

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asked the Minister of Health if he contemplates further improvement in the pay and conditions of service of the nursing profession, with increased scales of pensions and a general advance in the status of hospital nurses, as an essential constituent part of national health service.

The whole status and position of nurses will have to be reviewed in the light of the report of the Working Party on Recruitment and Training. Pending this review I cannot express an opinion on the Questions raised by the hon. Member.

Does the Minister realise that a serious situation is created owing to the shortage of nurses? Is he taking any definite steps to intensify the recruitment to the nursing profession?

As the hon. Member knows, I am very much alive to this matter, arid there is an intense recruiting campaign going on all the time. Indeed, I believe that there is an exhibition in Birmingham at the moment in connection with it. I am very anxious to get this report. Immediately I have it I shall be able to consider what to do.

Will the right hon, Gentleman take great care to preserve the interests of those nurses who have served for many years, but who do not happen to have passed certain examinations, and do not happen to hold certain certificates, and who, therefore, are in danger of being pushed out because of the change in the basis of entry into the profession? If they were to go it would be a great loss to the hospitals, for they are very valuable nurses.

When is the House likely to be able to read the report to which the right hon. Gentleman referred?


asked the Minister of Health if he has had under consideration the embarrassing situation which has arisen in hospital administration in Birmingham owing to shortage of nurses; and if he proposes to intensify the campaign for recruitment of nurses in consultation with the health departments of local authorities.

Yes, Sir. The hon. Member will be aware of the extensive Nursing Exhibition held in Birmingham from 29th April to 3rd May to encourage recruitment to the nursing profession.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication of when he contemplates an improvement in the conditions of service and the remuneration of nurses?

It would be extremely discourteous of me to appoint a working party to make a report and then to anticipate them by a public statement.