Skip to main content

Nurses, Midwives And Health Visitor's Act

Volume 979: debated on Monday 25 February 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will undertake to appoint to the Central Council and the national boards, established under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act, nurses who are members of Trades Union Congress affiliated trade unions such as the Confederation of Health Service Employees and the National Union of Public Employees.

Invitations will shortly be sent to a wide range of bodies including the Confederation of Health Service Employees and National Union of Public employees to suggest names of people suitable for appointment to the Central Council and national boards. The Act requires appointments to be made from among persons who are either nurses, midwives, health visitors or registered medical practitioners or who have such qualifications and experience in education or in other fields as will be of value to the Council or Boards, with particular regard to the need to secure that qualifications and experience in the teaching of nurses, midwives and health visitors are adequately represented. Subject to these provisions the appointments will be made on the basis of the contribution the individual concerned can make rather than on membership of any particular organisations.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to consult with interested parties on the staffing of the machinery to be set up under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979 prior to such machinery being created.

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that before decisions are taken about the staffing of the United Kingdom Central Council and the four national boards there will be full consultation with the interested parties concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will set up the standing midwifery committees of the Central Council and national boards under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979.

Section 3(1) of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979 requires my right hon. Friend to establish a standing midwifery committee of the United Kingdom Central Council for nursing, midwifery and health visiting. An order dealing with the constitution of this committee will be laid before Parliament in due course. Similar action will be taken under section 7(1) of the Act for each of the national boards.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what are his reasons for appointing two finance members to the Central Council to be set up under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979;(2) whether he proposes to appoint a midwife teacher member of the Central Council to be set up in 1980 under section 1(5) of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979;(3) why he has decided to appoint two financial representatives to national boards set up under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act of 1979;(4) why he has decided to restrict membership of national boards under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act of 1979 to a chairman and 19 members; and whether he regards this number as being capable of affording adequate representation particularly in England;(5) whether he expects to be able to adhere to his original timetable in creating the new Central Council and national boards under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979.

I welcome this opportunity to clarify the situation regarding action which is being taken under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979, preparatory to establishing a United Kingdom central council, and four national boards, for nursing, midwifery and health visiting. In November 1979 a paper was circulated to a wide range of interested organisations, inviting comments on a set of proposals. These included the proposal that a smaller number of members should be appointed to the council and boards than the maxima prescribed in the Act; during the handover period when those new bodies would be operating in tandem with the existing bodies. The paper went on to suggest initial constitutions for the Central Council and National Boards on this limited basis, indicating in some detail how the reduced membership (33 in the case of the Central Council, 20 in the case of each National Board) might be made up.The general response to the proposals has been favourable, although there has been some difference of view on the detail. No final decisions have yet been taken, but I hope that this will be possible soon. The next step will be the issue of a second consultative paper inviting specific nominations for consideration of appointment to membership of the new bodies. I am still hopeful that it will be possible to adhere to the original timetable, but it is more important to get the matter right than to rush the consultation stages unduly. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, time begins to run against the new bodies from the moment the relevant sections of the Act are activated by an "appointed day" order, and it is essential that difficulties be thoroughly resolved before we take that action.