Saturday, May 13, 2006

Unemployed Nurses Delegation Dec 1939


Deputation from Nursing Organisations 12th December 1939

Miss Florence Horsbrugh, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, today received, a deputation representing the Guild of Nurses, the Association of Nurses, the National Federation of Nursing Associations, the British College of Nurses and the Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers' Union.

The deputation was introduced by Mr. George Vincent Evans and the chief spokesmen were Miss Thora Silverthorne (General Secretary of the Association of Nurses), Miss M. S. Cochrane, Miss M. Yorke and Mr. C.F. Comer.

They expressed their grave concern at the amount of unemployment among State registered nurses and suggested that one of the main causes was the substitution of nursing auxiliaries from the Civil Nursing Reserve, for fully qualified nurses in hospitals coming within the emergency medical scheme of the Ministry of Health.

They also drew attention to the fact that many hospitals were now enforcing residence on nurses who had previously lived outside the hospital and that this was leading to great discontent and also to resignations. In addition they alleged that transfers to and from hospitals had been carried out in an unreasonable manner. Extension of working hours was given as another cause of unemployment.

The deputation feared that these measures would result in the professional status of the nurse being lowered and suggested that a Committee of Nurses should be appointed to give advice from the nurse's point of view

Replying, Miss Horsbrugh thanked the deputation for coming to state their case. The Minister of Health was particularly anxious that there should be no misunderstandings or sense of grievance among a body so important to "the well-being of the nation at the present time as members of the nursing profession.