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Queen Elizabeth's Nursing Service

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the distress suffered by members of the Queen Elizabeth's Colonial Nursing Service recruited by his Department for service in the West Indies as a result of the inadequacy of their salaries in face of rapidly rising costs of necessities; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the position.

I am afraid that it is true that in some cases the salaries of members of the Queen Elizabeth's Colonial Nursing Service in the West Indies are inadequate and that they have difficulty in making ends meet. The Governments concerned know this and, where possible, are taking steps to improve matters either by means of cost of living allowances or general salary regradings. The amount that can be done, however, must of course depend upon the resources of the territory.

May I ask my right hon. Friend if he will look again at the conditions under which these girls are living, in view of the fact that many of them are in an extremely unfortunate situation at the present time? Will he use what powers he has to persuade the Governments concerned to do more to make the living conditions of these girls tolerable?

I am much exercised about this question, and will do what I can to help.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, to judge from correspondence which I have had on this subject with the Minister of State, the dissatisfaction is such as to make it difficult to fill future vacancies?