7. Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite
asked the Minister of Labour whether the request made to mental hospitals to engage candidates from Eire as student nurses is without prejudice to the promotion prospects of the numerous young Englishwomen who desire to adopt this career but have been directed to factories and other forms of National Service.
§ Mr. Bevin
I am not aware that any young English women who desired to perform mental nursing have been directed to other employment, and if my hon. and gallant Friend has any particular cases in mind, I shall be glad to make enquiry. Nursing, including mental nursing, has the highest possible priority and apart from a few specially trained classes of women, such as teachers, any girl who is acceptable to a hospital as a nurse is given permission to join the profession.
While thanking the Minister for his reply, in regard to which I shall avail myself of the opportunity to send him certain evidence on the matter, may I take it that this is a purely war-time measure, and that as soon as British girls are available they will be given the opportunity of entering this profession?
§ Mr. Sorensen
Is the Minister aware that some of these Irish nurses, when they return on leave to their homeland do not come back?
§ Mr. Bevin
The difficulty is that I have been so short of staff for hospitals that I have had to use Irish girls and all kinds of people—aliens, for example—to try to staff the hospitals the best way I can. There is the risk sometimes that Irish girls go back, but on the other hand there is also the complaint that they stay here permanently.