asked the Minister of Health what special measures he intends to employ to increase recruitment of nurses, so that he will be able to implement the additional leave entitlement recently awarded to the profession.
It has been implemented.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that this extra two weeks' holiday, an increase to six weeks for nurses, is not in fact wanted by large numbers of nurses because many of them cannot afford to take the holiday? Many of them are foreign nurses and they have nowhere to go when they have the extra holiday. Is my right hon. Friend aware that the management committee side thinks that this was a disastrous arbitration award, and will he consider making special payments or payments for overtime to those nurses who decide voluntarily that they are prepared to work for the hospitals during some of the extra leave period?
I should not wish to criticise the policy of the award which has been made and implemented. I think that it is a part of the reason for the increase in leave that the leave should actually be taken to afford an opportunity of relief and refreshment to people who work under very great pressure.
Will the Minister tell us whether nurses who feel themselves unable to afford to go away on holiday may none the less, without working, stay on in their rooms in hospital and have nothing to pay, taking a holiday in that way?
I have no reason to think otherwise.