Guishorough Hospital (Capital Allocation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th April 1955.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Palmer Mr Arthur Palmer , Cleveland 12:00 am, 4th April 1955

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.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

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.

Photo of Mr Arthur Palmer Mr Arthur Palmer , Cleveland

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?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

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.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the shortage of pharmacists in the hospital service; for how many assistants and senior assistants there were vacancies at the nearest available date; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

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).

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman remind me and the House of what he has in mind to remedy the deficiency? Has he no further statement to make?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Nothing very much at the moment. The main and obvious question which is being asked is about salaries. That is a matter for the Whitley Council, and it is meeting on Wednesday to discuss it.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

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)?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I have answered that question before. I have published the Report, and I have taken note of what it says.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

asked the Minister of Health the salady paid to a locum tenens pharmacist in the hospital service; and what is the salary paid to a permanent officer of the basic grade.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

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.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

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?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, Sir, that is certainly true in many cases. The question whether there should be national rates for locums is a matter which I am sure the two sides of the Whitley Council will discuss in the negotiations to which I have referred.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the necessity for maintaining a fully adequate hospital pharmaceutical service, and, that being so, will he make appropriate representations to the Whitley Council about the matter?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I certainly agree with the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, but it is no part of my duty to make representations to the Whitley Council on the matter of wages.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

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.

Photo of Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith , Chislehurst

My right hon. Friend is aware that this has happened in some hospitals, but he is unable to estimate the increased cost to the service on this account.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

Can the hon. Lady say whether it is true that the cost estimated for Manchester alone was said to be in the region of £7,000 a year?

Photo of Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith , Chislehurst

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.