HC Deb 25 February 1986 vol 92 cc529-30W
47. Mr. Stern

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the current ability of the National Health Service nationally to recruit nursing staff at all grades on current terms and conditions of service.

Mr. Hayhoe

Recruitment to all grades of nursing and midwifery staff continues to be generally satisfactory. Provisional figures for September 1985 show that the number of such staff in England increased by 3,600 to 401,100 whole time equivalents compared with September 1984.

Some recruitment problems do exist in specific areas of work and particular locations. A survey for the Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives and Health Visitors showed that at 31 March 1984 the main areas of difficulty were nurse education, maternity midwifery, mental handicap and mental illness, where between 3 and 5 per cent. of all whole-time equivalent funded posts had remained vacant for at least three months compared with the average of 2.5 per cent. for all nursing and midwifery staff. Inadequate pay and career prospects were given as factors in less than 2 per cent. of the vacancies.

The information for March 1985 is still being validated, but provisional results indicate a similar picture of low levels of vacancies.

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