§ 36. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the Minister of Health what further steps he proposes to take to stimulate the recruitment of mental nurses, in view of the comparative failure of the local recruitment campaigns in most regions.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Watkinson)
I have been asked to reply. It is too early yet to judge the effect of all the measures taken to stimulate recruitment, but there is some evidence that in areas where the local recruitment campaign was conducted some months ago there has been an improvement in the staffing position of the mental hospitals since then.
The subject continues to receive the close attention of my right hon. and learned Friend in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, and is on the agenda of a meeting of the National Advisory Council on the Recruitment of Nurses and Midwives to be held tomorrow, 23rd July, at which further measures to encourage the recruitment of staff for the mental hospitals will be discussed.
§ Mr. Robinson
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this problem will never be 1554 solved until certain measures are taken, such as the establishment of the new grade of enrolled assistant nurse and improved pay and conditions for mental nurses? Is he further aware that the local recruitment campaigns—at any rate, in the region with which I am associated—have been an almost complete failure and that his Department was warned of this when the campaign was inaugurated?
§ Mr. Watkinson
If the hon. Member wants to investigate the conditions for mental nurses he should put down a Question to my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Watkinson
The reason for my answering on the question of recruitment is so that the hon. Member gets a verbal answer instead of having his Question go to the bottom of the list I hope he appreciates that. I should not like it to go on record that the recruitment campaigns have been a failure, because they have not. I agree that the results in the South are not as good as those in the Midlands and the North, but the details which I have, and which I can show the hon. Member, reveal that progress has been made.