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Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what steps he is taking to encourage qualified nurses not working in nursing to take up employment in the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement;(2) what steps he is taking to encourage an increase in the number of men entering the nursing profession; and if he will make a statement.

The recent pay increases for nurses ranging from 5 per cent. to 12ยท7 per cent. are largest for qualified staff and reflect the need to recruit and retain staff in these grades. Health authorities, which are responsible for recruitment, have been asked to increase male recruitment, organise "Back to Nursing" campaigns, including refresher training courses and to give more opportunities for flexible working arrangements, part-time working and job sharing.Other current central activities which have implications for recruitment and retention of qualified nursing staff include a joint DHSS/NHS working group on equal opportunities for women. In particular, it is expected that it will make recommendations for management of the career break. The management and staff sides of the Nursing and Midwifery Staff Negotiating Council are reviewing the nursing clinical grading structure. The council's aim is to develop a structure which is appropriate to current and future needs. Once the council has agreed a new grading structure, it will be for the review body to recommend appropriate pay levels. The Department also produces material for local recruitment campaigns and is currently reviewing its national nurse "image" advertising (which already features the work of male nurses) with a view to emphasising the opportunities for qualified staff to return to nursing.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received from nurses about nurses' pay and conditions since the announcement on 23 April of the Government's response to the 1987 recommendations of the Review Body for Nurses and Midwives Remuneration; and if he will make a statement about nursing shortages (a) in London, (b) in the South-East Thames region, and (c) in other parts of the United Kindom;(2) when the National Health Service Management Board steering group will report on its study of nursing services in London; and if he will make a statement.