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Volume 12: debated on Monday 9 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the various qualifications possessed by nurses employed by health authorities together with the added remuneration that additional qualifications command.

Information about individual NHS employees' qualifications are not held centrally. The nurses and midwives whitley council specifies the basic professional qualifications required for defined posts in the NHS nursing services. Pay levels negotiated by the whitley council are in relation to posts and the duties which their holders are required to undertake and are not directly related to the qualifications required.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the shortage of especially qualified nurses in the specialties of operating theatres, renal transplants and dialysis and intensive care units.

In some hospitals these specialised areas are difficult to staff with appropriately qualified nurses. In an attempt to ease the problem, the joint board of clinical nursing studies has devised and published curricula in the specialties named. Since these courses were set up there has been a gradual increase in the uptake each year. To date, 1,657 certificates have been awarded for nurses qualified in operating theatre nursing, 641 in renal nursing and 3,585 in intensive care nursing.Assessment of staffing levels is a matter to be determined by individual health authorities in the light of local needs and priorities. Information about the extent of shortages is not held centrally but in eccouraging recruitment the Department does place emphasis on specialised areas where there are recognised difficulties and provides material for local recruitment campaigns.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how a 4 per cent. pay increase on nurses' salaries would affect their take-home pay in relation to the level of male non-manual employees in the National Health Service.

Information in the form requested is not available centrally. I refer the hon. Member to my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) on 27 October, which set out the current basic salary scales for nursing and midwifery grades employed in the NHS. [Vol. 10, c. 328–9].

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the strong feeling expressed by nurses through the medium of nursing journals and through their organisations, he will take steps to safeguard the real value of nurses' salaries.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. O'Halloran) on 26 October. [Vol. 10, c. 266].

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in his consideration of the method to be adopted in future for determining nurses' pay, account will be taken of the need to differentiate between the scale for a midwife who has qualified as a state certified midwife in addition to SRN who at present receives only the same remuneration as a nurse with the single SRN qualification.

I am having discussions with both sides of the nurses and midwives whitley council about possible approaches to considering a method for determining nurses' pay for the future. Whatever approach is adopted, it is anticipated that this exercise will take into account all factors relevant to the employment of nurses, midwives, health visitors and district nurses in the NHS, including training and qualification requirements.