Junior Hospital Medical Staff

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1966.

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Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange 12:00 am, 7th February 1966

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he is aware of the widespread dissatisfaction being expressed by junior hospital medical staff about the terms and conditions of their employment; and what action he proposes to take to improve their situation;

(2) whether he is satisfied with the amenities and accommodation available to junior medical staff employed at the Manchester Royal Infirmary; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he is satisfied with the conditions of work and amenities available to junior medical staff at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what consideration he is giving to improving the terms and conditions of employment of junior hospital medical staff; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Arnold Gregory Mr Arnold Gregory , Stockport North

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he is satisfied with the conditions of work, amenities and accommodation available for junior medical staffs employed at Stockport

Infirmary, and Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what action he proposes to take to improve the conditions of work and terms of employment of junior medical staff engaged by hospitals within the Manchester Regional Board area; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he is aware of the inadequate pay and conditions of the junior hospital doctors at the Salford Royal Infirmary; and if he will take steps to improve them;

(2) if he will make an interim statement regarding the proposals for increases for the junior hospital medical staff.

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

I am aware that the living and working conditions of junior hospital medical staff at many hospitals in the Manchester Region are less than satisfactory and, in particular, that much of the residential accommodation is below the standards in Building Note No. 24, which relates to new hospital buildings. Both the regional hospital board and the board of governors are aware of the position and within the resources available to them are trying to remedy it, but in some cases the only permanently satisfactory solution is new building. On remuneration, I would refer my hon. Friends to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) on 15th November, 1965. Conditions of service are a matter for the Medical and (Hospital) Dental Whitley Council.

Photo of Mr William Griffiths Mr William Griffiths , Manchester Exchange

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a problem which grows increasingly urgent and that there is urgent need to find a solution to it? Is he aware that the consequences of the situation are that posts in Manchester hospitals remain unfilled, posts which until very recently, as, for instance, in orthopaedics, were competitive, lots of people wanting the job? Is he further aware that junior doctors are increasingly being tempted away—to emigrate to Canada and the United States—and also that the supply of Commonwealth doctors is drying up? There is also widespread resentment about deductions from their somewhat unsatisfactory salary scale for accommodation. Every effort should be made to bring up the standards of their accommodation in hospitals. It is a matter of urgency.

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

I would not accept that the supply of doctors from the Commonwealth is drying up. I have no evidence of that at the moment. I accept that there is a position here which needs improving, but I would point out to my hon. Friend that in Manchester Royal Infirmary, the particular hospital to which he refers, residential accommodation is better than in many other hospitals in the region, although I agree there is need for married accommodation.

Photo of Mr Arnold Gregory Mr Arnold Gregory , Stockport North

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the conditions in the two Stockport hospitals are among the worst in the Manchester Region? Would he take a special interest in this matter and see what can be done to help the junior staffs at both these hospitals?

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

I agree that the provision generally is of poor quality in Stockport, although I am told that two houses have been bought since 1960 in order to supplement this provision.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

Would my right hon. Friend look at the position of the Salford Royal Infirmary and particularly the accommodation which is provided for doctors there, which is very inadequate and very unsatisfactory? Perhaps he would examine that against the boarding fees and see whether something urgent could be done.

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

My hon. Friend did not ask about accommodation at this hospital, but if he likes to put down a Question about that I will do my best to answer it. On remuneration and boarding charges, these are matters for the independent review body in the first instance.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

On a point of order. If my right hon. Friend looks at my Question he will see that it mentions "conditions". They include accommodation.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

That may be a point for the Minister but it is not a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

As at least one of these Questions goes wider than those hospitals which so far have immediately been referred to, and without necessarily accepting all the representations which the Minister has so far received from some of those representing junior staff, may I ask him whether he is satisfied with the present machinery for the representation of their views?

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

I am satisfied that the Review Body has been made fully aware of the feelings of junior hospital doctors.