§ Mrs. Reneé Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will modify medical manpower structures in view of the need for increased medical and nursing staff of all grades, especially in infectious diseases and clinical immunology.
§ Mr. Newton
It is for health authorities to assess their need for medical and nursing staff in all specialties. Their assessment is conveyed to the Department through the strategic planning and accountability systems. Based on these plans, it is the Department's role to ensure an adequate supply of medical manpower to meet that need.
Existing medical manpower structures make it difficult to reconcile these objectives with the need to ensure adequate levels of intermediate-level medical staffing. The proposals contained in the consultative document, "Hospital Medical Staffing: Achieving a Balance" address this problem, they are intended both to make a career in hospital medicine more secure, and to relate the supply of doctors training in each specialty more closely to career opportunities. The proposals are designed to give health authorities greater flexibility to match hospital medical staffing to local needs and circumstances and to the unforeseen demands of emerging public health problems.