To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is his policy on the employment by Scottish health boards of (a) permanent nursing staff and (b) agency-based, temporary nursing staff; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement on his policy on the employment of temporary, agency-based nursing staff in acute hospital wards.
The employment of nursing staff is a matter for health boards to arrange. There are circumstances where it is more economic for boards to engage temporary agency-based nursing staff rather than to appoint permanent staff, but this must be decided in the light of local circumstances. The number of agency-based nursing staff is monitored regularly and at the last count it constituted half of I per cent. of the qualified nursing work force in Scotland.