§ 89. Mr. Adley
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with representatives of nurses.
§ Mr. Moore
On 23 May, at the annual congress of the Royal College of Nursing I announced the Government's acceptance of the broad thrust of the proposals put forward by the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting for the reform of nurse education and training. The response we have made is a clear indication of the importance which this Government attach to nurse education. It provides the statutory bodies with the guidance needed to enable them to carry forward their work on the detailed implications of the changes. The proposals are firmly based on the needs of patients and clients, and are designed to ensure that nurses are more appropriately prepared to meet perceived health care needs. I welcome the professions' enthusiastic response to the announcement. A copy of the letter to the chairman of the UKCC giving the Government's response is in the Library.
I also stressed this Government's recognition of the nurses' special position with regard to pay, and our firm commitment to the pay review body. Our acceptance of all five of its reports has clearly demonstrated our regard for the nursing profession. I also highlighted the benefits to the profession of the introduction of the new clinical grading structure, which will reward those nurses who acquire additional clinical skills and take on new duties and responsibilities. It will also provide a valuable incentive for those who wish to remain in clinical practice to do so.