I believe I was noting the positive progress in Worcestershire. The total number of staff employed rose by 7% to more than 5,000 between August 2013 and August this year, and the number of doctors has increased by 5% . The number of nurses has gone up by nearly 8%. There are now nearly 1,400 nurses working in Worcestershire acute hospitals. I have been to the wards, and spoken to the nurses at the Alex who tell me about the positive recruitment days that they have held at the University of Worcestershire. I very much welcome that work, and I hope that it will continue to bear fruit.
It is vital to maintain the morale of our staff, and I welcome what my hon. Friend Maria Caulfield said regarding flexible working. It is important that we look at the issues in the round. As a former employer myself, I know how important it is to get every aspect of the employment offer right. I welcome the new contract deals that will result in a 6.5% pay rise for more than 1 million NHS workers this year. That means that those on the lowest salaries in the NHS will see some of the largest proportionate pay rises. Many nurses and healthcare assistants will enjoy pay increases of at least 25%. We must get the pay offer right to ensure that we encourage our NHS staff both to enter the profession and to stay.
I thank the Minister for attending the debate. I want to hear more about the strategy. I welcome the progress that has been made, and I implore him to continue, steadfast, in that pursuit.