§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has received from each regional health authority of the cost of the nursing regrading exercise; what is each region's estimate of their total nursing pay bill in 1988–89; and what is each region's current allocation in respect of nursing pay.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
[holding answer 19 October 1988]: I am today announcing additional financial allocations to English regional health authorities to meet in full the estimated final costs of the nurses clinical regrading exercise. The first column of the table gives each regional health authority's estimate* of the basic assimilation cost of its proposed regrading. The remaining information gives the distribution by region of the additional £98 million now being made available (including provision for London pay supplements where appropriate); and the total of £731 million which has now been provided to meet the cost of this exercise in England. Regional estimates of the total nursing pay bill in 1988–89 are not available; and current allocations to regions do not separately identify an element in respect of nursing pay.
Region1 Percentage assimilation cost Additional allocation £ million Total2 allocation £ million Northern 16.4 6.3 43.6 Yorkshire 16.2 5.5 47.0 Trent 16.3 7.2 58.7 East Anglia 17.1 4.2 26.3 North West Thames 16.4 5.2 56.8 North East Thames 16.9 7.3 70.8 South East Thames 17.4 8.4 61.9 South West Thames 17.2 6.8 49.8 Wessex 17.6 8.4 39.6 Oxford 18.3 6.8 31.7 South Western 17.8 9.9 46.6 West Midlands 16.2 7.5 66.8 Mersey 16.2 4.9 34.9 North Western 16.7 9.9 61.3 1 In order to ensure consistency all Regions were asked to calculate the cost of their proposals upon the assumption that all staff would move from the midpoint of their existing scale to the midpoint of their proposed new grade. We and the Regions recognised, however, that because of the present incremental distribution such a method would overstate the cost. Accordingly three Regions, which had the data available, calculated the cost taking account of actual points on scales and grades. This comparison showed in those Regions that on average the midpoint method overstated the cost by 0.6 percentage points. To reflect this, all Regions accepted that their midpoint-to-midpoint estimates should be adjusted by a common factor of 0.6 percentage points. 2 These figures do not include the provision made for special health authorities and other bodies.