asked the Minister of Health if he will make a supplementary capital allocation to the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board for the completion of the unfinished building block at Guisborough General Hospital, on which work was first started before the last war.
No additional allocation is available this year, and it is in any case the responsibility of the regional hospital board in the first instance to determine the priority of this scheme compared with others needed in its area.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the needs of the chronic elderly sick in Cleveland are very real indeed, and would not the completion of this building be an obvious and relatively cheap way to deal with the problem?
I should certainly like some time to see the completion of the ward block for the chronic sick, but obviously the Minister cannot start picking out individual cases. It must be left to the board concerned, which at the moment does not give it a particularly high priority.
Yes, Sir. In August last there were deficiencies on complements of 281 in the basic grade and 64 in the senior grade. On the last part of the Question, I have nothing at present to add to the statement which I made on 9th February in reply to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop).
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the position will never be satisfactory until he begins to adopt some of the suggestions made in the Report of the Committee which sat under the chairmanship of his hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Sir H. Linstead)?
There is no nationally agreed salary for them. Payment varies according to the prevailing rate in the area in which they are required. The standard salary of a hospital pharmacist in the basic grade is £450 a year at age 23, rising by annual increments of £25 to £575, with an extra £20 or £30, according to age, in the Metropolitan area. A claim for increases is before the Pharmaceutical Whitley Council.
Would it be out of place to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has noted that in many cases locums are not as well qualified as the men under whom they must serve, but that, by and large, they get substantially more than the permanent officers? Is that not somewhat invidious and will it not make for difficulty?
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that pharmacists in the hospital services are in some cases unable, owing to depletion of staff to prepare their own injectable fluids; and whether he will give an estimate of the increased cost to the service as a whole due to this factor.
No, Sir, we have no figures for individual hospitals, but a memorandum has recently been circulated to hospitals recommending that where the amount spent on perfusion fluids is more than £1,500 a year, they should consider preparation within their own pharmacies or on a group basis.