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Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she has taken to improve the terms and conditions of nurses working in the NHS; and what plans she has to further improve pay and conditions. (138642)

New terms and conditions of service have been implemented for the majority of directly employed national health service staff including nurses, as part of the Agenda for Change pay reform programme. These include a number of substantial improvements for the majority of staff, including higher maximum pay rates, more scope for career progression and more annual leave. The starting pay of a newly qualified nurse has increased from £13,385 in 1997 to £19,645 from November 2007. This represents an increase of 59 per cent., 25 per cent. in real terms. The Government remain committed to the new pay system, which is continuing to benefit nurses among others alongside annual pay increases recommended by the Nurses and Other Health Professions Pay Review Body.