Practice Nurses

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th November 1992.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Day Mr Stephen Day , Cheadle 12:00 am, 10th November 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the number of practice nurses employed by family doctors has changed (a) since 1978 and (b) since 1990.

Photo of Mr Tom Sackville Mr Tom Sackville , Bolton West

In 1978, 888 whole-time equivalent practice nurses were employed by general practitioners. The number at 1 October 1990 was 7,698—a massive increase of more than 700 per cent. The latest figures available are to 1 October 1991, when 8,776 nurses were employed by GPs.

Photo of Mr Stephen Day Mr Stephen Day , Cheadle

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer, which I am sure that the whole House will welcome. Does he agree that that answer is evidence of a vast—indeed, record—increase in NHS resources? Will he confirm that, since 1979, nurses' pay has increased by 50 per cent. in real terms? Does he agree that that is a sign not only of increased resources but of efficient use of those resources, which is vital in the present climate of pressure on public expenditure?

Photo of Mr Tom Sackville Mr Tom Sackville , Bolton West

What my hon. Friend has said about nurses' pay is correct. Moreover, the total budget for family doctor services has more than doubled in recent years. The effect is clear: additional services are being offered, such as immunisation, and practice nurses are very popular with patients.