Nurses (D Grade)

Health, Social services and public safety – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 27th November 2000.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:15 pm, 27th November 2000

3. asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if she will detail the percentage of nurses employed at D grade in Northern Ireland and what is the comparable figure for the rest of the United Kingdom.

(AQO 354/00)

Photo of Bairbre de Brún Bairbre de Brún Sinn Féin

Is é 37·5% an céatadán d’altraí a bhfuil poist ghrád D acu anseo; 24·2% an céatadán i Sasana; agus 28·4% in Albain.

The percentage of qualified nurses in D grade posts here is 37·5%; in England it is 24·2%; and in Scotland it is 28·4%. Information on grade D nurses employed in Wales is not available.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

It is evident from the answer that we are paying nurses on the cheap in Northern Ireland, with 13% more nurses at D grade than in England. It is clear that that is one reason why so many nurses are leaving.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Yes, there is. It is clear that that is one of the main reasons for the nursing crisis and for our having to import nurses from all over the world. What will the Minister do to ensure that nurses are rewarded fairly for the work that they do?

Photo of Bairbre de Brún Bairbre de Brún Sinn Féin

The Member has obviously not read the front pages of the English newspapers, which tell us of the grave shortages of nurses throughout that country, and which slightly belie the point he appears to be trying to make. The grading of any nursing post depends on the duties of the post; length of service, experience and qualifications are not in the agreed criteria. Therefore, no direct comparison can be made between the numbers of grade D posts in different countries, as the number depends on the staffing requirements of individual organisations to deliver health care to service users.

The clinical grading system and pay for nurses and others working in the system have been addressed in the House several times. The four health boards, in partnership with employers and staff organisations, are currently developing proposals for a new pay system. It will offer staff a more attractive career with the potential for better progression, greater use of skills, improved status and higher earnings for those who contribute most to the service.

It is proposed that a job evaluation scheme will be used to evaluate every post in the Health Service, and pay will be awarded on the basis of a job’s worth in fair comparison with the worth of other jobs.