May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the discussions which have taken place on this matter, whether he discussed it with the professional organisations concerned? Will he bear in mind that a lot of part-timers are paid on an hourly basis, which is having an effect on permanent nursing staff, who feel they are being penalised?
We always try to give intelligent answers to intelligent questions. The fact is that a very large number of factors are involved, all of which are variable, in trying to reach an estimate—the circumstances in which overtime rates are payable, the rates for overtime, the grades in which it is payable, the policy adopted by individual hospitals. In reply to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, no claim for overtime payment has yet been received from either side of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council.
As his mind is always open, will the right hon. Gentleman initiate discussions with the professional organisations representing nurses and midwives? Would he not agree that that would be very helpful to us in that we should then know in what direction we are going?