HC Deb 11 February 1982 vol 17 cc455-6W
Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total number of nurses employed by the National Health Service in England including pupils, students and auxiliaries in 1972, May 1979 and at the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will give the cost at each date in current and constant terms.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

The numbers of nursing and midwifery staff employed in the National Health Service in England at 30 September 1972, 1979 and 1980 were as follows:

Whole-time equivalents
1972 1979 1980
All nursing and midwifery staff* 299,900 354,400 366,000

* Includes qualified nurses and midwives, learners and auxiliaries but excludes agency nurses and midwives.

The figures shown are not strictly comparable and any comparison should be made with caution. The reasons are:

  1. (i) With the NHS reorganisation in 1974, staff previously employed by local authority health departments were transferred to Area Health Authorities. The figure for 1972 has been corrected for this but a direct comparison with the figures for 1979 and 1980 is unreliable.
  2. (ii) In 1980 the working week was reduced from 40 to 37½ hours, therefore the figures for 1980 are not comparable with those for 1972 and 1979.

The cost—including employers national insurance and superannuation—of nursing and midwifery staff in England in 1972–73, 1979–80 and 1980–81 was as follows:

£ millions
*1972–73 1979–80 1980–81
Current prices 369 1,649 2,294
Constant prices—November 1980
level N/A 2,288 2,294

* This figure relates to hospital nursing and midwifery staff only.