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Physiotherapists

Volume 655: debated on Monday 12 March 1962

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20.

asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken to overcome the present shortage of physiotherapists in the Nottingham hospitals.

The regional hospital board intends to open a school of physiotherapy in Nottingham.

Is there not something very wrong when in Nottingham we have posts which have been vacant for up to three years and when wounded ex-Service men, who are supposed to have priority treatment, are unable to get it? Would not the hon. Lady agree that, however successful the hospital building programme and the new projects may be, they will be of no avail unless we build up the essential human fabric of the hospital service, and that this means a drastic overhaul of the system of the remuneration of people in professions supplementary to medicine?

The shortage of physiotherapists is not confined to Nottingham, but it does affect that region. It is the case that the numbers in post have fallen in the last few years in that region in spite of the general increase of physiotherapists throughout the country. We are looking into the matter, and we believe that a training school is part of the answer. I have already dealt extensively with the question of salaries.

May I ask my hon. Friend, when she is opening this new school in the Nottingham area, how she will provide teachers for the school? If she is opening a new school in Nottingham, why is it that the school in the northern region of the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board is to be closed down because we have not the teachers?

A shortened course for teachers was started last autumn in conjunction with the Chartered Society for Physiotherapists. It should produce more teachers quite quickly. We hope that this will help in due course with the project in the Nottingham region, and I hope that it may help in the region in which my hon. Friend is interested.