asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many fitters are available to the National Health Service in Scotland, England and Wales to service orthopaedic aids to the handicapped children and adults in each country; and if she will make a statement on the rôle that fitters play in the National Health Service.
There are approximately 1,600,70 and 30 surgical appliance fitters available to the National Health Service in England, Scotland and Wales respectively. Some of the fitters based in England undertake work in Scotland and Wales. The great majority of fitters are employed by firms under contract to my Department. Their rôle is primarily to fit a wide range of surgical appliances, including orthopaedic aids, under medical supervision.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will examine the present position of trained technicians on orthotics in this country; and if she will make a statement.
The majority of orthopaedic technicians are employed by firms under contract to my Department to supply surgical appliances to the National Health Service. The recruitment and training of these employees is arranged by the individual firms.