asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a state registered nurse who decides to train in midwifery under the present regulations suffers a reduction in salary and allowances; and whether he will refer this anomaly to the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council.
I think that there is some misunderstanding about this. This is not a higher qualification, it is a different one, and many nurses take this qualification while not intending to practise midwifery at all. In these circumstances, I do not think it is appropriate that she should go on being paid as a working nurse while she is a student.
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that this distinction which he has made of a different qualification is very great? She is trying to qualify herself more for work which she may be doing. Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider what my right hon. Friend said?
The point is that where she is willing to do midwifery the hospital can arrange for her to be seconded without loss of pay. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that this matter has been raised with innumerable Ministers of Health since I have been in the House.
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the important thing in life today is for people to get the maximum number of qualifications which they possibly can? Why make this distinction? It is perfectly idiotic.