§ Gregory Barker
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many medical and nursing vacancies there are within the NHS; and what measures are being taken by his Department to fill them. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The national health service vacancy survey is carried out annually on 30 March. As at 30 March 2002 there were 1,310 vacancies, posts that had been vacant for three months or more, for medical and dental staff and 8,390 vacancies for qualified nurses.
Additional nurses and doctors are being employed as a result of increased throughput from training, improved recruitment and retention and international recruitment. Since 1997 the number of nurses working in the NHS has increased by an estimated 39,500 and the number of consultants by 4,980.