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Nhs Professionals

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS acute trusts have signed up to use NHS Professionals; and what proportion of acute trusts this represents; [104080](2) what national deadlines were set for the expansion of NHS Professionals between November 2000 and January 2003; [104649](3) what representations he has received on the adequacy of the

(a) facilities and (b) IT systems to support NHS Professionals; and if he will make a statement; [104651]

(4) pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2002, Official Report, column 1054W, on NHS Professionals, what the terms of reference of the assessment are; [104081]

(5) what representations he has received on the (a) training and (b) criminal records checks undergone by nurses used by NHS Professionals; and if he will make a statement; [104648]

(6) what representations he has received on the funding of NHS Professionals; and if he will make a statement; [104650]

(7) if he will make a statement on his Department's role in supporting the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service over the introduction of NHS Professionals. [104869]

To date, 42 national health service acute trusts are making use of NHS Professionals, which represents 17 per cent. of all NHS acute trusts. In addition 13 other NHS trusts are making use of NHS Professionals. The Government's aim is that by April 2005 all NHS trusts should be using the NHS Professionals service exclusively to source temporary nursing staff.The assessment of NHS Professionals was established to take stock of progress on its implementation, review the different approaches in the provision of temporary staffing and recommend the most viable options for continuing this service in-house.Currently, each provider of NHS Professionals has sourced their own facilities and information technology (IT) solutions. The new special health authority for NHS Professionals will be responsible for the future long-term strategy for the core business processes of the NHS Professionals service, including call centre management, employment services, payroll, payments to agencies, invoicing trusts, management reporting and IT. National targets for the expansion of NHS Professionals were set out in Health Service Circular (HSC) 002/2001 published 16 February 2001.The new special health authority for NHS Professionals will be responsible for the future longterm strategy for training. Criminal records checks will be carried out on NHS Professionals nurses as laid down in Departmental Guidelines. In common with checks for other staff groups, theses are subject to some delay at the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) but the position is improving. Such checks are not mandatory except in the case of appointments to posts caring for children within the terms of the Protection of Children Act 1999, which require a check to be made against the Protection of Children Act List. In these cases, a fast-track facility for checks is available at the CRB.NHS Professionals was allocated £7 million to support the start up of pilot sites. A further £29 million has been invested this year. We will continue to invest in the implementation and development of NHS Professionals through the new special health authority for NHS Professionals.The Department of Health has worked closely with West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (WYMAS) NHS Trust on the development of NHS Professionals and has provided funding to take account of extra costs incurred on implementation and will continue to work with WYMAS through the next stage of development to move their NHS Professionals operations to a new special health authority for NHS Professionals.