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Nurses (Conditions And Pay)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is satisfied with the present strength of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Auxiliary Nursing Corps; and when he expects to make an announcement regarding the new conditions of service and pay of this corps.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No." The Army, like the civil hospitals, is having considerable difficulty in securing the services of nurses. The strength of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps is more than 900 below establishment and civilian nurses are being employed as a temporary expedient. I hope that it will be possible for a statement on the new conditions of service to be made shortly.

Is the Secretary of State aware that an inquiry into the pay and conditions of service of these nurses was started in December, 1946, and that, in February of this year, he said he would expedite the matter? Is he also aware that this delay is having a most unfortunate effect on those in the service and on recruiting as a whole?

The first two parts of the hon. and gallant Member's supplementary question are accurate. With regard to the third, it is not having such an unfortunate effect as was anticipated, very largely because of the devotion to duty and loyalty of the nurses.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether civilian nurses are paid more or less than Army nurses?

As hon. Members are probably aware, there has been recently some suggested readjustment of pay and conditions of civilian nurses, and we are hoping for the best.

Is the Secretary of State aware that devotion to duty would be much assisted by better conditions of pay than they have at present?