HC Deb 13 November 2001 vol 374 cc673-4W
26. Mr. Breed

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the use of agency nurses in the NHS. [12132]

Mr. Hutton

The Government are aware of the potential value for money and quality issues facing national health service employers using agencies. This is why we are fully committed to NHS Professionals, the non-profit making temporary staffing solution run by the NHS for the NHS. NHS Professionals is being rolled out by all health professionals by 2003.

27. Colin Burgon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to improve the recruitment and retention of nurses in the NHS. [12133]

Mr. Hutton

In the first year of the NHS Plan period the number of nurses employed in the national health service increased by 6,310.

The Government are fully committed to investing in NHS staff, to raising the number of nurses, increasing training places, encouraging former staff to return, and recruiting more nurses from abroad.

The NHS Plan introduced the Improving Working Lives Standard, a model of good employment practices against which NHS organisations are measured. NHS organisations are required to provide a portfolio of evidence that they are improving the working lives of staff.