HC Deb 30 June 1987 vol 118 c367
8. Mr. Gerald Bowden

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects nurses to receive the pay increase which the Government awarded them in April.

Mr. Moore

All nurses should have received the new rates of pay in their June pay packets and arrears by the end of July. This means that under this Government the pay of nurses in the National Health Service has risen since 1979 in real terms by 30 per cent.

Mr. Bowden

Will my right hon. Friend acknowledge that in inner London there are acute shortages of nurses in many departments in many hospitals? Can ways be explored to find the means not only of recruiting but of retaining those nurses in London hospitals?

Mr. Moore

My hon. Friend is quite right to draw our attention to the problems of London, which do affect the employment not only of nurses, but of many other employers in the capital city as well. There are clear problems in relation to accommodation, the environment in which the hospitals are situated, and transport. These are being looked at, because I recognise that there is a particular difficulty with regard to the recruitment and retention of nurses.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Why should a highly trained operating department assistant working in theatre earn less than a nurse? Is his or her contribution to the NHS any less, or the same?

Mr. Moore

If I were to start what I hope will be a lengthy career in this job by trying to decide on the relative differentials of those who are employed in the good, caring National Health Service I would be starting on the wrong track. The Government have sought to ensure that nurses and the Health Service as a whole have received real increases, which was their due, and I was delighted to be able to confirm that in the original answer.

Mr. Raison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in places outside London, such as Stoke Mandeville hospital in my constituency, there are peculiar difficulties in recruiting nurses due to the high cost of housing and the abundance of other jobs? Will he give careful consideration to the possibility of extending some sort of pay weighting to help offset this?

Mr. Moore

I do not want to go into the technical details to which my right hon. Friend has referred, but I am aware of the problems of Stoke Mandeville hospital. All of us are concerned to ensure that nurses, who serve us so well, are properly rewarded. We are aware of particular parts of the country where there are problems that are specifically related to accommodation. I will concern myself particularly with the point that my right hon. Friend has made.

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