§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to reform nursing agencies; what representations he has received on this subject; and how much NHS organisations paid for agency nurses in each of the last 10 years. 
§ Mr. Milburn
These agencies are currently required to be licensed under the provisions of the Nurses Agencies Act 1957. We are considering how the regulation of such agencies might be improved, particularly in the context of our plans to introduce regulation of domiciliary care providers. Departmental officials have had discussions with local authorities responsible for licensing agencies and with the Royal College of Nursing as well as representatives of the agencies. The information available on the cost of nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff not employed directly by individual trusts and health authorities is shown in the table. Data prior to 1991/2 are not directly comparable.
Expenditure on nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff not employed directly by individual trusts and HAs £ Year 1997–98 prices 1997–981 216,338,567 1996–97 196,475,547 1995–96 176,296,636 1994–95 144,526,300 1993–94 117,189,126 1992–93 116,088,250 1991–92 121,127,306 1 Provisional Data
Annual Financial Returns of NHS Trust
Annual Financial Returns of Health Authorities
Adjusted GDP Deflator: HMT forecasts 1 October 1998