HC Deb 02 November 2000 vol 355 cc599-600W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to improve working conditions and morale of staff of the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [135703]

Mr. Denham

We are committed to improving the working conditions and moral of staff in the National Health Service by becoming a better employer. We recognise that a well motivated work force, able to manage a healthy work-life balance and fairly rewarded, will provide a better service to patients. For the last two years pay awards recommended by the independent review bodies have been implemented in full. Since 1997 nurses have had a 15 per cent. pay rise.

On 4 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State published the human resources performance framework which will measure for the first time the way in which NHS employers treat their staff, and which will link their performance to the resources they receive. An integral part of the framework is the new improving working lives standard. This introduces a kite-marking system for NHS employers to demonstrate how they are improving the working lives of all their staff. By April 2003, all NHS employers are expected to be accredited as putting the IWL standard into practice.

In September this year each NHS trust received £25,000 to improve the working environment for staff. A further £30 million has been allocated to expand child care provisions so that by 2004 there will be provision for around 100 on-site nurseries. An additional £6 million in 2001–02, rising to £8 million in 2003–04, is being invested to extend occupational health services for staff in the NHS. An extra £140 million is being invested by 2003–04 in personal development and training, to provide access to learning for all NHS staff. There were 10,000 more nurses in September 1999 than in September 1997, indicating that moral is improving.

Sandra Gidley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will introduce the market forces supplement for NHS staff; and how it will be allocated. [135844]

Mr. Denham

[holding answer 1 November 2000]The National Health Service Plan set out our plans to invest in staff working in the National Health Service. This includes the introduction of a new market forces supplement to top up the pay of staff in areas where there are labour market shortages. We will be publishing our proposals in due course.