This is a local problem, at the Bellshill Maternity Hospital, about which the hon. Gentleman has shown great concern. I am satisfied that the Western Regional Hospital Board and the Board of Management are taking all possible steps to obtain additional staff. There has been wide advertising following the hospital careers exhibition at Airdrie last year, and the hospital authorities are exploring ways of making service at the hospital more attractive to nursing staff.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply and for the correspondence he has had with me on this matter. Bearing in mind that when trained nurses enter the midwifery service they suffer a drop in salary, will the hon. Gentleman consider the idea of restoring their salary to its proper level? On that basis he would go a long way to solving the problem. Will he also institute an inquiry concerning the Bellshill Maternity Hospital to correct its staffing position?
Regarding the salary, the hon. Gentleman should know that that matter is for the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council. In its pay claim, however, the staff side has included a specific claim for post-registration students and student midwives, and this will be given a great deal of consideration by the management side. On the second part of the question, at this stage this is a matter for the regional board and the board of management and I hope that they will be able to solve the problems there as soon as possible.