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Nurses

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how much it costs to train a nurse.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on 23 November, at column 81.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the median level of earnings for nurses in each year since 1979.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the median level of earnings for nurses expressed as a proportion of average earnings in each year since 1979.

Information is not available in the form requested. However, data on mean average earnings for the years 1983–84 to 1986–87 are set out in the table. Information is not available for earlier years on a comparable basis.

All Qualified Nurses1Staff NursesWard SisterAverage Gross Earnings2
£pa£pa£pa£pa
1983–847,3686,7338,8128,306
1984–857,9707,4229,4748,916
1985–868,5557,93810,1759,631
1986–879,4408,98111,20810,371

Notes:

1

Source: DHSS—Excludes Nursing Auxiliaries and Students/Pupils.

2

Source: Department of Employment — New Earnings Survey. Figures relate to all full employees on adult rates, excluding those whose pay was affected by absence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what timetable he envisages for the extension of prescribing powers to nurses, as outlined in the primary care White Paper;(2) how he intends to proceed in investigating the issues surrounding the concept of the nurse practitioner, as outlined in the primary care White Paper.

The Department will be consulting the relevant professional advisory groups in the near future about the professional and ethical issues involved in nurse prescribing and will be looking at the other issues involved in more detail during the coming year. It is not possible to give firm timetables or detailed plans at the moment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many nurses are employed nationally in intensive care units;(2) how many nurses nationally are receiving intensive care training;(3) what is the estimated number of nurses needed nationally in intensive care units.

The total number of nursing staff employed in intensive and coronary care units in England at 30 September 1986 was 6,250 whole-time equivalents, an increase of some 74 per cent. over September 1981. Information supplied by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health visiting shows that in the year ended 31 March 1987, 563 nurses entered specialist post basic training in intensive and coronary care nursing, an increase of some 14 per cent. over the previous year. Information is not available centrally on which an estimate of the number of nurses needed nationally in such units could be made. It is for individual health authorities to determine their requiremets for nurses in their intensive care units in the light of local needs and priorities and the resources which can be allocated to those needs. Information for the rest of the United Kingdom is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and Northern Ireland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many student nurses did not complete their training in each of the last five years.

Information about student and pupil nurses who did not complete their training is given in the table. It includes those who failed their examinations and assessments as well as those who left training.

Number of students and pupils discontinuing basic nurse training: Year ending 31 March: England

Students

Pupils

Total

11983

3,9102,2106,120
19842,8701,6604,530
19853,9602,1306,100
19862,4909503,440
19872,8809803,860

1 Actual figures for England for 1983 are not available but have been assumed to be 95 per cent. of those for England and Wales.

(1) All figures rounded to the nearest 10.

(2) Due to rounding the total may not be equal to the sum of the constituent parts.

Source: English National Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the estimated number of nurses needed in intensive care units in the West Midlands regional health authority.(29 how many nurses are receiving intensive care unit training in the west midlands region;(3) how many nurses are employed in intensive care units in the West Midlands regional health authority.

It is for regional and district health authorities to determine the number of nurses needed in intensive care units. However, the latest information held centrally shows that on 30 September 1986 the following whole-time equivalent nurses were employed in intensive care units in the west midlands:

Whole Time Equivalent
Intensive Care General Nursing600
Paediatric Intensive Care20
During the year ending March 1987, 28 nurses undertook the English National Board course 100 in intensive therapy nursing and six undertook course 124 in coronary care nursing. The hon. Member may wish to write to the chairman of the West Midlands regional health authority for any additional information she requires.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to when the next round of pay negotiations for nursery nurses is planned to begin.

The pay of nursery nurses is determined on the advice of the Independent Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives and Health Visitors, which will be reporting its recommendations to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the spring.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give his latest projection for the next five years for the number of nurses who will qualify each year for (i) England and (ii) each regional health authority; and if he will provide comparable figures for the number of nurses who currently leave each year and the number who he anticipates will leave in each of the next five years.

[holding answer 16 December 1987]: I regret that not all the information requested is available. Information supplied by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting on the number of nurse learners completing basic nurse training in 1987 and projections to 1990 based on actual intakes to training is shown in the table.

Number of nurse learners completing basic nurse training England

Year ended 31 March

Registered Nurse Training

Enrolled Nurse Training

198717,6786,426
1988115,7504,080
1989115,2503,510
19901 215,120(4)

1 Estimated figures assuming current wastage rates.

2 Estimates possible for only three years for registered nurses and two years for enrolled nurses from 1987 (latest available figures on intakes to training).

Information about the numbers of nurses who leave the NHS in England is not collected centrally, but the most commonly accepted estimate for qualified nurses and midwives is 10 per cent. per annum. This figure includes retirements, those leaving to have a family and those leaving for non-NHS nursing employment. They are not therefore all lost to the profession. On that basis an estimated 23,700 in wholetime equivalent terms left the NHS in England in 1986–87.

After allowing for wastage and failure to practise on qualification, around 22,650 learners completed training and entered the NHS in the year to 31 March 1987. It is estimated that about 7,100 qualified staff in wholetime equivalent terms returned to the NHS in that year. It is not possible to provide the further projections requested; it is for individual health authorities to plan their intake to nurse education and training each year in the light of the latest available plans and information on service developments, labour market conditions, wastage and rate of return to NHS nursing.