HC Deb 02 November 2000 vol 355 cc605-6W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to improve the recruitment and retention of occupational therapists in the NHS. [122908]

Mr. Denham

The national recruitment, retention and vacancy survey published September 1999 gave us the latest authoritative data on staff vacancies from 98 per cent. of National Health Service trusts. They show that only 1.9 per cent. of occupational therapy posts have been vacant for three months or more (in England). The Government are ensuring that effective recruitment and retention policies are in place to make the best use of trained staff and that training levels are sufficient to get a better match between supply and demand.

We are taking a number of steps which will help to address the issue of recruitment and retention of occupational therapists. These include the publication of the framework for the management of human resources for the whole of the NHS, "Working Together: securing a quality workforce for the NHS", which sets targets for local employers to improve recruitment and retention year on year. We have issued guidance to the service on improving working lives and we will shortly be issuing guidance on lifelong learning and continuing professional development.

Debt written off Debt injected
Industry Year £million Type of Debt Year £ million
British Steel 1980–81 509.3 National Loans Fund
British Aerospace 1980–81 60 Public Dividend Capital
National Freight Corporation1 1980–81 100 National Loans Fund
British Airways 1980–81 160 Public Dividend Capital
British Transport Docks Board1 1982–83 81.3 National Loans Fund 1982–83 25
British Telecommunications 1984–85 2,789.9 National Loans Fund 1984–85 3,500
British Gas 1986–87 2,500
BAA 1986–87 43.5 National Loans Fund
British Steel 1988–89 500 Public Dividend Capital
British Steel 1988–89 3,480 Borrowing under Iron and Steel Act 1982
Harland and Wolff 1989–90 422.5 Assistance under Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries (Northern Ireland) Order 1979
Short Brothers 1989–90 390 Loan by DED
Water companies 1989–90 4,973.3 National Loans Fund 1989–90 72.9
Water companies 1989–90 55 Public Works Loan Board
Electricity (England and Wales) 1990–91 3,583
Electricity (Scotland)3 1991–92 1,043.6 National Loans Fund 1991–92 625.9
NTL 1991–92 22
Northern Ireland Electricity 1993–94 70.3
Belfast Airport 1994–95 15.2
British Coal 1994–95 1,633.4 Voted Loans
Railtrack 1995–96 1,229 National Loans Fund 1996–97 585
Total 17.470.8 10,999.3
1Privatised as National Freight Consortium (now NFC).
2Privatised as Associated British Ports Holdings.
3Prior to privatisation, National Loans Fund Debt due to the South of Scotland Electricity Board nuclear programme of £1,368.4 million was transferred to Scottish Nuclear Ltd. and subsequently written off.
4In the case of the privatisation of British Energy, on 5 June 1996, it was agreed that, of the £1,745 million of debt to Government created as the result of the reorganisation of the nuclear power generating industry prior to the privatisation, £600 million would be converted into a new debt owed to Government, £700 million converted into 700 million shares with a face value of £1 and £445 million would be written off.

We are also modernising services and modernising employment practice in the NHS: developing more supportive, flexible and family friendly working practices; extending and improving investment in lifelong learning and professional development; tackling violence and racism in the workplace; involving staff in the way services are delivered and in the changes and developments that affect their working lives.

We have accepted in full the pay increases recommended by the Pay Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine (including occupational therapist) for 2000–01. The review body has recommended an across-the-board increase of 3.4 per cent. for 2000–01. Experienced staff will receive total increases of up to 8.4 per cent.

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