HC Deb 11 March 2002 vol 381 cc814-5W
Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the(a) pay, (b) conditions and (c) recruitment of nurses specialising in cancer care. [38235]

Mr. Hutton

All nurses, including those specialising in cancer care are graded in accordance with the nationally agreed clinical grading structure.

We have accepted in full the recommendations of the independent Pay Review Body for 2002–03. From 1 April all nursing staff will receive an above inflation increase of at least 3.6 per cent. Pay has increased across the board for all nurses by at least 26 per cent. in cash terms since 1997.

We remain committed to working with unions, professional organisations and employers to introduce a new pay system that will offer staff working in the national health service a more attractive career structure, fairer pay and consistent conditions of service.

The NHS Plan set out our commitment to increasing the work force and the NHS Cancer Plan confirmed our commitment to investment in the cancer nursing work force. The Department's census shows that since the launch of the NHS Plan in September 1999 until September 2001, there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 20,740. This increase will enable the recruitment of additional cancer-site specific nurse specialists, chemotherapy nurses, palliative care nurse specialists and additional nurses on cancer wards.

We are committed to continue increasing the number of nurses employed in the NHS and improving retention, increasing training places, encouraging former staff to return, and increasing international recruitment. The NHS is also changing to become a modern, flexible employer. The current recruit, return and retain campaign covers all nurses, including those involved in cancer services and the staffing of all NHS services should inform a Trust's recruitment and retention strategy.

Forward to