Hospital Workers (Dispute)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th March 1973.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare 12:00 am, 19th March 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking to overcome the effects on the hospitals in Wales of the industrial action of the hospital workers.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The Welsh Office has given guidance to the Welsh Hospital Board and to the hospital management committees on the action to be taken, and is represented on a co-ordinating committee of chief officers set up by the Welsh Hospital Board which meets daily.

Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the suffering now caused to many thousands of patients in hospitals is due entirely to the Government's stubborn refusal to initiate an inquiry, which was asked for by the BMA and the TUC? The deplorable low wages and the often unpleasant duties of hospital workers have left them with no other choice but the heartrending decision to demonstrate their grievances.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I am rather surprised that the hon. Gentleman should take that attitude. I share his sadness and the sadness of other hon. Members that the hospital service is not working to full capacity. On the subject of pay, I remind the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has announced that under stage 2 hospital workers can be offered £2 a week for men and £1·80 for women. They can have that now.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

Will my hon. Friend acknowledge the splendid efforts of nurses, doctors and volunteer workers which have minimised the effect of the troubles?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I am happy to support what my hon. Friend has said. I can only hope, with other hon. Members, that the present situation will come to an end as speedily as possible.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Merthyr Tydfil

Does not the Minister think that the highly-paid consultants in the National Health Service would be better employed in working full-time in the Health Service, in order to reduce the waiting list of urgent and non-urgent cases, rather than smearing hospital workers who are the worst-paid people in the hospital service?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I do not think that that arises from this Question.