asked the Minister of Health what comments he has received from regional hospital boards and hospital management committees upon the Report of the Standing Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee of the Central Health Services Council dealing with human relations in obstetrics; and how many replies have indicated opposition to the recommendations of the Report.
Comments from boards are not due before 30th September, nor reports from committees before the end of this month. I will make the results public when they are to hand.
Does my right hon. Friend not agree that one of the greatest difficulties in providing the best possible service in our hospitals is the shortage of nurses? Does he not think that the Committee took this matter too little into account in its recommendations and findings? Will my right hon. Friend make representations to the General Nursing Council to reduce the starting age for the training of nurses, because this might enable us to get more nurses and to put right some of the deficiencies which were pointed out by the Committee?
My hon. Friend's second point is a separate one. As regards the first, I believe that the Committee was right to place its main emphasis on the better use of trained staff, particularly nurses and midwives.