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Psychiatrists

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North 12:00 am, 16th December 1957

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the shortage of psychiatrists in all branches of our mental health services; and whether this special consideration was before the Willink Committee in its deliberations on the future requirements of medical manpower.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

The answer to both parts of the Question is, "Yes, Sir".

be, set out in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and what I said in answer to the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Redhead), disclose that all the various grades of radiographers had percentages applied. I was merely anticipating, perhaps unwisely, what the hon. Member would see when he looked at the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the figures:

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

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say why there was no mention whatever of psychiatry in the Willink Report? Is he not aware that our mental hospitals are grossly understaffed and that patients who can benefit from treatment are being denied treatment because there are not the doctors available? Does he not also appreciate that the implementation of the Royal Commission's recommendations must involve a very great expansion of our psychiatric service? How can this take place if the medical intake is to be reduced by 20 per cent. overall?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I am not sure how far it is for me to interpret what was in the minds of Sir Henry Willink and his Committee. I understand their conclusion was that it was not necessary for their purpose to include in the Report a separate estimate far each specialty. The hon. Gentleman may like to know that in the evidence given by my Department and the Department of Health for Scotland to the Willink Committee we specially drew attention to the need for more psychiatrists.

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

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman think again on this particular point and, possibly, send out some further advice to the universities to follow the copies of the Report which he sent to them a short time ago?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I have not, in fact, sent out advice to the universities on this point. I have drawn their attention to the Report of the Committee, as it was appropriate for me to do, but I shall certainly bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.