asked the Minister of Health, in view of the unsatisfactory condition under which the junior medical staff at the Newcastle General Hospital have been working and the efforts they had to make for proper conditions of service, whether he is satisfied that the position of junior medical staffs in all hospitals is now appropriate to their service; and if he will make a statement.
Concern about working conditions of junior hospital doctors led me, in August last, to ask all hospital authorities to review these conditions locally, and I know that considerable improvements have been made. I am at present engaged in a general review with the profession of matters affecting the work of these doctors.
In view of the difficulty that the junior medical staff at Newcastle General Hospital had to get their conditions put into order, am I to understand from the Minister's reply that within a short time no doctors will be working under the deplorable conditions that those junior medical doctors were asked to work under, and had to fight so hard to get put right? May I have an assurance, please?
I understand that the complaints of the junior medical staff at Newcastle General Hospital have already been met by the creation of three additional posts in the accident and casualty departments. On the wider issue, I would refer the hon. Lady to the negotiations that I am currently conducting with the profession.
I am sure that Members on both sides of House will welcome what my right hon. Friend has said with regard to the thorough examination of the conditions of service of medical staff, but can he say whether the negotiations referred to in his reply cover the conditions of service for trainee nurses and nurses, and will include an examination of their somewhat mean present remuneration?
Without accepting the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I am concerned about the conditions of all workers in hospitals. The negotiations to which I have referred, however, are limited to medical staff.
Can the Minister say whether his current talks with representatives of the medical profession cover the grievances of junior hospital staff in regard to the shortage of consultant posts and excessive hours of work? Is he aware that present dissatisfaction is leading to an inordinate number of young hospital doctors seeking to emigrate? When are these negotiations likely to come to an end?
They will take just as long as they need to take to reach satis- Factory conclusions. There are no formal terms of reference, but the negotiations will certainly embrace the matters referred to by the hon. Member.