HC Deb 13 December 1988 vol 143 cc542-5W
20. Mr. Fearn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to meet representatives of the nursing unions to discuss the regrading of nurses and midwives.

24. Mr. Canavan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will now arrange to meet trade union representatives of Health Service employees to discuss regrading.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

I met representatives of the Royal College of Nursing on 5 December and representatives of the Royal College of Midwives on 7 December. 1 am not prepared to meet representatives of those trades unions whose members are taking part in industrial action over the current regrading exercise while that action continues.

I should also make it clear that negotiations over the terms and conditions of nurses and midwives employment are a matter for the relevant Whitley council. I cannot take over the role of the Whitley council management side and direct meetings between me and trade union leaders should not be seen as a substitute for Whitley council discussions.

28. Ms. Mowlam

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has recently received from nursing unions concerning the current regrading procedure.

49. Mr. Evennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has recently received concerning the regrading of midwives by district health authorities.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

I have received a number of representations about the re-grading exercise for nurses and midwives, including some from trade unions. I have made it clear, however, that I will not meet representatives of trade unions engaged in attempting to organise industrial action. Neither the Royal College of Nursing nor the Royal College of Midwives have done so and I therefore met representatives of these Colleges on, respectively, 5 and 7 December. Both unions joined me in condemning industrial action, and agreed to support measures designed to help the appeals process work more quickly and effectively. We agreed to continue our efforts to dispel some misunderstandings which appear to have arisen over the regrading exercise. As a result of these friendly and constructive meetings, I am more certain than ever that the new grading structure will come to be seen as a turning point in securing a properly rewarded career structure for the country's nurses and midwives.

33. Mr. Illsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of nurses who have received a new grade under the recent review procedures(a) nationally and (b) in the Barnsley district health authority have appealed against their grade.

Mr. Mellor

We do not hold this information centrally.

64. Mr. Win Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appeals have been made by nurses against their new grading; and when he expects the appeals procedure to be completed.

78. Mr. Nellist

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appeals are currently being heard concerning health workers' regrading; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Appeals against grading are a local matter and we do not hold information centrally on the number of appeals lodged. I recognise the importance of dealing with appeals quickly as well as fairly and I have

The new clincial grading structure for nursing, midwifery and health visitor staff
Percentage of old clinical grades assimilated to each of thenew clinical grades on the basis of duties and responsibilities on 1 April 1988: Scunthorpe
Numbers transferred to each new clinical grade
Previous grade Staff in post (whole time equivalents) A B C D E F 1G H I
Nursing Auxiliary 265.30 245.80 19.50
Staff Nursery Nurse 4.20 4.20
Enrolled Nurse2 238.70 150.40 88.30
Enrolled District Nurse2 1.70 1.70
Senior Enrolled Nurse2 1.40 1.40
Staff Nurse2 227.30 67.70 143.90 15.70
Staff Midwife2 17.50 17.50
Deputy Sister2 11.60 5.00 6.60
Nursing Sister II2 137.00 59.20 77.00 0.80
Midwifery Sister II2 41.50 14.30 27.20
District Nurse (Sister II)2 37.90 1.20 33.70 3.00
Nursing Sister I 1.00 1.00
Midwifery Sister I
Health Visitor 36.20 35.20 1.00
Senior Nurse 8 5.00 4.00 1.00
Senior Nurse 8 (Midwife) 1.00 1.00
Senior Nurse 7 14.50 14.50
Senior Nurse 7 (Midwife) 3.00 3.00
Clinical Teacher 3.30 3.30
Fieldwork Teacher 5.00 5.00
Practical Work Teacher 6.00 6.00
Tutor 6.00 6.00
Tutor Midwife 0.50 0.50
Post Basic Students
Enrolled 19.00 19.00
Staff Nurse 2.00 2.00
Deputy Sister
Sister II

asked RHA chairmen to adopt a number of measures designed to speed up the appeals system. These include setting up officer level investigations to resolve any obvious mistakes and points of difficulty before the formal appeal stage is reached, and establishing wherever possible more than one appeals' panel. The great majority of officer level investigations for current appeals can be completed by the end of January, and I shall be discussing with chairmen whether it will be possible to have completed the appeals process locally by the spring. However, I have made it clear that no appeals will be heard in any unit from staff who are not working normally so long as they continue their industrial action.

65. Mr. Tim Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the nurses' grading dispute.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The vast majority of nurses and midwives are working normally and are very satisfied with the outcome of this year's pay award and the associated regrading exercise. This is hardly surprising because it gives them an average pay increase of 17.9 per cent. at a cost to the taxpayer of almost £1,000 million.

Mr. Morley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff from each of the old grades have been assimilated to each of the new grades in the recent clinical grading structure in Scunthorpe district health authority.

Mr. Mellor

[holding answer 12 December 1988]: The information requested is given in the table.

Numbers transferred to each new clinical grade
Previous grade Staff in post (Whole time equivalents A B C D E F 1G H I
Totals 1,086.60 245.80 23.70 169.40 161.10 166.40 97.00 173.10 25.10 25.00
1Excludes some additional G posts which health authorities have indicated they intend to create in future on existing two-sister wards.
2Excludes Post Basic Students.