NHS Resources and Priorities

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:10 pm on 14th November 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Conservative 5:10 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, I declare an interest as chairman of a health service trust. Two issues particularly strike me in what the Minister has said. The first is the welcome announcement of extra money for nurses to help with accommodation. Will the Minister be kind enough to say a little more about the possibility of the health service providing accommodation? There is a real difficulty, particularly in London, that even £1,000 will not make a row of beans' difference to the ability to attract and recruit nurses because of the cost of accommodation. The health service probably wishes that it had not systematically got rid of all the old nurses' homes over the years, because it will need to return to providing some accommodation.

The second issue, to which my noble friend Lord Howe referred, was the absence of any mention of doctors in the Statement. Will the Minister comment on the fact that the reduction in junior doctors' hours has put a considerable burden on consultants? Although there was an aspiration to consultant-led services, there are nothing like enough consultants to run them. Is there an expectation of an uplift in the number of consultants in all specialties, not just those that the Minister referred to as the primary centres of focus? If not, very soon we shall see consultants working the 102 hours that the junior doctors worked.