asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what assessment he has made of the financial position of nurses in the National Health Service, with particular regard to their ability at current pay levels, to obtain suitable accommodation; what representations he has received on this subject from nurses in Berkshire; what discussions he has had with the nurses and midwives negotiating bodies; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will expedite his consideration of the recommendation of the review body on nurses' pay; if he will make it his policy, in reaching his conclusions on those recommendations, to allow health authorities sufficient flexibility to enable them to implement a higher pay increase in areas where recruitment and retention is especially difficult; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 27 March 1987, c. 306–7]: Although we are aware of suggestions that housing costs are affecting the ability of some health authorities in parts of London and the home counties to fill key nursing posts, we have not received any representations on this issue from nurses in Berkshire, or from the staff side of the nursing and midwifery staffs negotiating council. The review body reports to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. I am sure that my hon. Friend would not expect me to anticipate its recommendations or the Government's response to them.