Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when the Minister made the announcement to the State-enrolled nurses on 21st April many of them expected action in the near future? Could the hon. Gentleman give some indication of when this grade will be created? Could he also say what will be the qualifications for entry into the senior grade?
I cannot give a date at the moment. Before a date can be announced, advice has to be sent to hospital authorities. A memorandum is being sent shortly asking them to revise establishments with the object of designating suitable posts in wards and departments. I can understand the impatience of the hon. Gentleman to get things moving, but I am sure there will be a general welcome to this further recognition of the place of enrolled nurses in the hospital service and the new opportunity for promotion which it will give.
We have asked hospital authorities to complete by 1st January, 1966, the implementation of the reduction in working hours. We hope that they will achieve this, or will make every effort to do so. I cannot give any more information on that point at the moment.
Would the hon. Gentleman see that in the current negotiations the 72,000 nurses in training receive a fair deal in their wages this time? Is he aware that many of them are receiving only £2 15s. a week after they have paid for their board? Will he also bear in mind that they will not be satisfied with the 3½ per cent. recently awarded to the clerical staff in accordance with the Government's guiding light, because that would mean only 4s. a week extra for them?