First, probation and after-care officers in England and Wales number about 2,400. By 1970 some 3,500 will be needed. Second, hospitals in England and Wales employ about 1,050 medical and psychiatric social workers. More are needed and hospitals are being asked to review their social work organisation and to implement a new grading structure which will facilitate joint services with local authorities. Training facilities for all these services are being expanded and should be adequate.
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that information, does he not feel that the whole question of the training of these social workers should be looked at in a co-ordinated manner, and does he not think that there is a particular danger of overlooking the needs of essential officers in hospitals, such as medical social workers and so forth?
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is desirable to keep in touch with the several bodies responsible for the training of social workers and the organisations representing them in order to ensure that there is an adequate supply of recruits and proper facilities for training in the course of the expansion, which is inevitable and desirable, of qualified and trained workers in the social field.
Central Government are not directly in charge of the numbers employed in the hospital services. Local hospital management committees are responsible for the services in their areas. But, there again, I agree that it is desirable from a central point, which I attempt to fill, to see that supplies are adequate and especially that the joint services are run between hospital authorities and local—
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why the committee which was recently set up to consider what changes are needed in strengthening the family services covers local authority social workers but excludes probation social workers and medical and psychiatric social workers? Surely he is treating the matter piecemeal instead of considering the profession as a whole?