The numbers of nurses and domestic staff have been rising. Full-time nursing and midwifery staff in hospitals in England and Wales have increased by 2,000 in 12 months. Last June the total was 117,741 compared with 115,529 a year earlier. Part-timers over the same period rose by nearly 7,000 to 17,380. Full-time domestic staff increased from 96,500 to 99,700 and part-timers from 18,000 to 21, 575.

One result of these gratifying increases has been to shorten nurses' hours in some hospitals and to reopen beds closed through lack of staff. In mid-1947 there were about 63,000 beds out of action through staff shortages, but by June this year nearly 6,000 of them were again available for patients.

As the Ministry of Health says, the point has now been reached when every addition to hospital nursing and midwifery staff means either the opening of more beds or the improvement of working hours and conditions - or sometimes both.