§ Mr. Janner
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current average salary of a National Health Service nurse; and how much is spent on average, per annum, on hiring a private or agency nurse.
§ Mr. Newton
[holding answer 4 November 1987]: Information in the form requested is not available. The current basic salary scale for staff nurses, for example, is £7,300 to £8,600, and in addition they receive additional payments mainly for working overtime and unsocial hours. Present average earnings (excluding London weighting) of full-time staff nurses are estimated to be about 17 per cent. greater than basic pay. However, the maximum payment to a nurses' agency for work undertaken by an agency nurse is calculated on the mean of the appropriate NHS nursing and midwifery staffs' pay scale plus the agency's commission and employees' national insurance contribution, but information on additional payments made to such staff is not available and a direct comparison with a NHS nursing staff is not therefore possible. Moreover, agencies' commission varies and a number of assumptions have to be made, for example, as to the benefit to NHS staff of annual leave, sick leave, public holidays, uniforms and also additional management and administrative costs. Taking these factors into account it has been estimated in very broad terms that the cost of an agency staff nurse would be little different from that of a NHS staff nurse on the mid point of the pay scale and in some circumstances could be up to 12 per cent. less.