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Volume 81: debated on Friday 28 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the average working hours of a student nurse according to each of the three stages of training; if he will provide a breakdown of all hours worked, including refreshment times; and how this compares with each of the last 10 years.

We do not have the information requested readily available. Student nurses in each year of training have standard contracted hours of 37½ per week exclusive of meal times, in common with all grades of nursing staff. We reduced the contracted hours from 40 per week in 1980–81.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any nurse whose retirement date is between 1 April 1985 and 31 January 1986 will receive a pension calculated on the basis of 1984–85 salary plus the 5 per cent. award made in the first stage of the recent pay award; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister explained in her reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) on 6 June at columns 194–96, it is our practice to base pensions on the salaries actually in payment at or in the period before the date of retirement.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the numbers of nurses who are expected to take retirement in the financial year 1985–86; and of those, how many are expected to take retirement: (a) before 1 February 1986 and (b) after 1 February 1986.

We do not have centrally the precise information requested but from past experience we estimate that about 4,200 nurses in England and Wales will retire in the financial year 1985–86.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the pension which a nurse on the maximum of her scale could expect to receive for each of the following grades: auxiliary, staff nurse, sister II and district nurse.

Retirement benefits under the National Health Service superannuation scheme depend on length of service, superannuable earnings in the most beneficial of the last three years of service and a variety of other relevant factors which can be precisely determined only in relation to individual circumstances.