§ 7. Mr. Michael Latham
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will make a statement on the level of morale and job-satisfaction within the medical side of the hospital service; and what steps she is taking to improve the present position.
§ Mr. Latham
Is not the simple truth that morale is appalling and that it is not being made any better by the depressing sight of the right hon. Lady hawking our pay beds around the courts of Persia and Arabia?
§ Dr. Owen
That is not what my right hon. Friend did. On the general question of morale, I do not believe that it is anywhere near as bad as Conservative Members seem to think. They would do the National Health Service a great deal of good if they occasionally spoke up for the remarkable amount of activity which goes on in the NHS in helping patients in many areas and spent a little less time sniping at the Service.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
But does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise the dismay and anger that his right hon. Friend has caused by refusing to refer the pay beds issue to the Royal Commission and now being forced to admit to a consultant practising in the St. Mary's group of hospitals that it is impossible to say whether there will be any speeding up of the making of appointments or hospital admissions for National Health Service patients following the abolition of pay beds?
§ Dr. Owen
I do not think that many people would deny that the freeing of some pay beds in some hospitals for the National Health Service will help to reduce waiting lists, particularly when they are associated with new, modern hospitals. As for the hon. Gentleman's other remark, I gather that we cannot find any evidence of this, but if he has a copy of the letter, I shall be interested to look at it.