Nurses: Recruitment

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of James Murray James Murray Labour/Co-operative, Ealing North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing travel and housing subsidies in order to retain and attract more registered nurses to London.

Photo of James Murray James Murray Labour/Co-operative, Ealing North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to respond to the Royal College of Nursing’s report entitled Living in the Red: the cost of living crisis for London’s nursing workforce published on 30 January 2020.

Photo of James Murray James Murray Labour/Co-operative, Ealing North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support registered nurses in London with (a) the cost of (i) housing and (ii) transport and (b) other costs of living.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

It is the responsibility of individual employers to consider the overall reward package for their staff, including any travel and accommodation benefits.

The Agenda for Change (AfC) contract on which nurses are employed includes an additional allowance if staff work in and around London. The High Cost Area Supplement provides an additional 20% of basic salary for working in inner London and 15% in outer London. This means the starting basic pay for a nurse will be nearly £30,000 in inner London and over £28,600 in outer London and pay will be over £36,700 for nurses with at least four years’ experience in inner London and over £35,000 in outer London.

The AfC contract also includes the flexibilities for employers locally to use Recruitment and Retention Premia of up to 30% of basic pay if there is a particular need.

The Homes for NHS Staff Policy aims to improve access to affordable housing for staff employed within the National Health Service by securing an offer of first refusal on affordable homes developed on land owned or being disposed by NHS estate owners. NHS trusts in London, as employing organisations, have also developed additional accommodation offers and partnerships to respond to the requirements of their staff including rental model partnerships with housing providers where appropriate.

We are aware of the Royal College of Nursing’s report, we are working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and are exploring options for the next Public-Sector Land programme and key worker accommodation. This includes how we might help tackle the NHS staff housing challenge and encourage the building of more homes, including an affordable housing contribution, in developments on public land.

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