Voluntary Hospital Nurses (Hours of Work)

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons on 1st October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Norman Bower Mr Norman Bower , Harrow

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the excessive hours at present being worked by nurses in voluntary hospitals; and whether in view of the discouraging effect which this state of affairs is having on girls who would otherwise wish to enter the nursing profession, and the likelihood that in the event of heavy war casualties the hospitals will find themselves seriously understaffed, he will take steps to impose on the voluntary hospitals the obligation to reduce the hours and otherwise improve the conditions of the nurses in their employ in all cases in which they are at present unsatisfactory?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am aware that in some hospitals and in times of special pressure the hours of duty are longer than is generally considered desirable in peace time. The shortage of nurses at the present time inevitably prevents some of the hospital authorities from reducing the hours as they would like. Consideration of this question falls within the scope of the Nurses' Salaries Committee, which is now sitting under the chairmanship of Lord Rushcliffe.

Photo of Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson , Birmingham Handsworth

Are not nurses continuing to be overworked and underpaid?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That is what the committee has been set up to consider.