§ 14. Mr. Ron Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many student nurses qualified in Scotland last year; and how many secured permanent employment within the national health service.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
In the year ending March 1991, 2,917 students in Scotland qualified for registration as first level nurses. Approximately 4,500 qualified nurses have secured employment in the national health service in Scotland during that period.
§ Mr. Brown
Is not it clear that many qualified nurses are not getting jobs in the health service? That is disgraceful because we know that, if resources were made available to extend the Royal hospital for sick children in Edinburgh and provide the promised new hospital in Leith, many more nurses and other medics could be employed to provide the service that they are trained to provide. If the Government claim that the health service is safe in their hands, will they do something about it and provide the resources, so that hospitals—particularly in the Edinburgh area—are given the back-up that they deserve?
§ Mr. Forsyth
I suspect that the hon. Gentleman had framed his supplementary before hearing my answer to his question, in which I made it clear that the number of nurses who were employed during that period was far greater than the number who qualified. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that, under this Government, the 1075 number of nurses employed in Scotland has increased by one third. That is a magnificent record. Moreover, their pay has increased by 40 per cent., whereas it went down by 25 per cent. when the Labour Government were in office.