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Professional Staff (Pay)

Volume 649: debated on Monday 13 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Health if he will set up a committee to consider the remuneration of qualified professional staff, other than doctors and dentists, in the National Health Service, and, having regard to the staffing needs of the service, to recommend what relationship the salary scales of the various professions should bear to each other and to the remuneration of doctors.

Why not? Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these groups include such people as physiotherapists and radiographers who are in such short supply in the Service and are bringing it grinding to a halt, to quote The Times? This proposal is in line with the kind of wage policy which the Chancellor of the Exchequer appears to be yearning for and, in those circum- stances, how can the right hon. Gentleman resist this proposal?

No, Sir. To do this would be inconsistent with the working of the normal wage negotiation machinery. It would be quite impossible for that to be worked if there were to be special inquiries, save in the most exceptional circumstances.

But has the right hon. Gentleman not already intervened in the wage machinery by imposing the wage pause and interfering with the arbitration arrangements?

No, Sir. The machinery continues in existence and is being worked at this moment.