Mr. De la Bère:
asked the Minister of Health whether he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the Government's proposals for securing an increased supply of trained nurses; and the Government's proposals for ensuring a better standard of livelihood for those so engaged?
Proposals for securing a better distribution of certain nurses, after discussion with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service have now been put to representatives of the nurses and of their employers. With regard to the salaries of nurses, my hon. Friend is already aware of the committee under the chairmanship of Lord Rushcliffe which is considering this matter.
The number has increased very largely, but I am not entirely satisfied that we could not at this time be training another 2,000 or 3,000 who wish to become trained nurses in the future. We could also do with another 10,000 nurses throughout the country. There has also been an interim increase in salaries pending the result of this committee of inquiry.
Is it not a fact that the increase is mainly in student nurses, and there are many trained nurses who will not come back into the profession because they are better paid outside?
No, there have not only been students. There has been an increase in trained nurses as well as student nurses throughout the country. I think at present nearly all the trained nurses in the country are working. If the hon. Member knows of any who can be released from other jobs, I shall be glad to hear of them.
We are arranging for a better distribution of nurses. We have to have a ratio of trained nurses and nursing auxiliaries. One of the difficulties has been to get the right distribution.