Midwives' Salaries (Rushcliffe Committee's Report)

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons at on 22 July 1943.

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Miss Rathbone:

asked the Minister of Health whether he has now received the Report of the Midwives' Salaries Committee; whether it is to be published; and what action he proposes to take on it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Yes, Sir. I have received from my Noble Friend Lord Rushcliffe the Report of the Committee which I appointed under his chairmanship. The report is being presented as a Command Paper, and copies will be available to-day in the Vote Office. The House will wish to join me to-day in offering congratulations to Lord Rushcliffe and the members of the Midwives' Salaries Committee. The new agreement will, I think, serve to encourage entrants into the profession and secure a more adequate remuneration for those already engaged in it. The total annual additional cost is likely to be at least £500,000. I am to-day communicating with local authorities and the British Hospitals Association, commending to them the recommendations as to salaries, emoluments, and conditions of service. I had intended to make a statement about domiciliary midwives but in view of the length of the statement I would ask hon. Members' permission to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT with the rest of the answer.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Has the local authority to provide part of the cost of the increase?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Oh yes, Sir, but the Government are prepared to make a grant equivalent to one-half of the additional expense incurred.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

Are we to understand that this scheme has been put before local authorities before this House has had an opportunity of discussing it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I have always thought that this House desired Ministers to act with expedition in matters of administration.

Following is the rest, of the answer:

So far as domiciliary midwives are concerned, additional expenditure incurred by local supervising authorities through the adoption of the Committee's recommendations will rank for the statutory grant available under the Midwives Act, 1936. As regards midwives engaged in institutional midwifery, the Government are prepared, pending the settlement of the post-war health services, to assist both local authorities and voluntary hospitals in giving effect to the Committee's recommendations by making a grant equivalent to one-half the additional expenditure incurred in respect of such midwives. The Committee have included a recommendation on the question of a national uniform. The actual provision of such uniforms must be conditioned by the supply position, but I accept in principle the recommendation that as soon as practicable I should submit to Parliament legislation empowering the Central Midwives Board to frame rules.