asked the Minister of Health whether he has ascertained the approximate number of extra nurses now required by civilian hospitals to provide reasonable relief to existing overworked staffs and secure effective medical and nursing attention to patients; whether he can state the present average ratio of beds to nurses in these hospitals; and whether he will obtain information respecting the number of nurses at military or other hospitals who are not immediately necessary to those institutions but might be available for transfer to understaffed civilian hospitals?
The returns received from hospital authorities in England and Wales indicate the number of additional nurses whom they would be ready to employ if they were available. The figure on this basis for nursing staff of all grades is 13,600. The average ratio of nurses employed to all beds is 24 nurses per 100 beds; the average ratio of nurses employed to all patients is 40 nurses per 100 patients. As regards the last part of the Question, I am in communication with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.
While thanking the Minister for the figures, may I ask whether he does not appreciate that in spite of the action taken in the past to remedy this disparity, there are still cases of grave overcrowding in the country which could be avoided if only we could get some proper liaison between the Minister and the War Office?