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Mental Hospitals (Nurses)

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 26 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Health to what extent the Birmingham mental hospitals are understaffed; and what steps are being taken to step up the recruitment of nurses in such hospitals.

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind nursing staff. At Winson Green Hospital the deficiency of female nursing staff is 28 per cent. and of male 27 per cent. At Rubery Hill the deficiency is female staff 50 per cent., male staff nil. Persistent efforts are being made to recruit staff through the Ministry of Labour and by local recruiting campaigns and advertisement. Nurses' salaries have recently been increased.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of those who are caring for the mentally sick are very much concerned that one of the things retarding recruitment of nurses to mental hospitals is likely to be the American film, "The Snake Pit," and could he make any statement or take any action?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the reason why these mental hospitals are comparatively understaffed is because of the transfer of the aged people referred to in the previous Question who are now being treated as mental cases for the first time?

I should like to give notice that in view of the fact that my information has come from a Socialist who is chairman of the mental hospital concerned, and as the right hon. Gentleman classes it as quite untrue, I will endeavour to raise the matter on the Adjournment.