§ Dr. Gibson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the costs of NHS trusts employing agency cancer nurses relative to cancer nurses in permanent NHS posts in the last 12 months. 
§ Dr. Gibson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve(a) the recruitment and (b) the retention of cancer nurses at (i) NHS trust and (ii) primary care trust level. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Government are implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention of all staff, including cancer nurses. These include an increase in pay, encouraging the national health service to become a better employer through the Improving Working Lives and Positively Diverse programmes, increasing training commissions, reducing student1000W attrition, running national and local recruitment and return to practice campaigns and supporting international recruitment where appropriate.
Since 1997, the qualified nursing workforce has grown by nearly 50,000. Between September 2001 and September 2002, there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 17,100 (headcount). The NHS Plan target for nurses has been reached two years early. In addition, over 13,000 qualified nurses have returned to practice in the NHS since 1999.