asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff in the National Health Service are qualified to run kidney machines, to teach patients how to use them and to nurse the patients who require treatment; how many such qualified staff are estimated to be needed, and what shortage there is; and what proposals he has to increase the numbers of such qualified staff.
The information is not available centrally. There are 16 centres which run joint board of clinical nursing studies courses in renal and urological nursing; a total of 342 staff have so far completed these courses but any qualified nurse with experience in a renal dialysis unit and under supervision can be taught to run kidney machines and to teach and nurse patients on dialysis. The shortage is generally of qualified nursing staff willing to work in renal dialysis. Assessment of staffing needs locally are for individual health authorities as these must be based on individual circumstances and policies. Recruitment is also primarily for health authorities but the Department will be co-operating with them later this year in local campaigns to attract back to nursing those nurses who have left the service for family commitments or other reasons.