§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate how many additional junior hospital doctors would be needed to reduce the working hours of junior doctors to 60 hours per week.
§ Mr. Dorrell
Increasing the number of junior doctors is not the way to solve the problem of the long hours worked by some junior hospital doctors. It would be counter to our policy set out in "Achieving a Balance—Plan for Action", a copy of which is available in the Library, to improve both patient care and career prospects for junior doctors by expanding the consultant grade and controlling the numbers in training.
Our approach to reducing hours is set out in the heads of agreement on junior doctors' hours, a copy of which is 558W foster carers and on ways in which these can be provided. It is for each local authority to identify and agree with the foster parent the specific training needed in individual cases. Training packages from the National Foster Care Association, which the Government help to fund, have proved valuable in training programmes.