NHS trailing on New Deal targets

3 Feb 00
The NHS is failing to meet its New Deal target and there is evidence that a significant number of health service employers have yet to commit themselves to the initiative.

04 February 2000

Last week Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett castigated public sector bodies for failing to embrace the New Deal with the same conviction as businesses. Only 8% of job starts under the scheme were in public bodies, even though the sector employs 25% of all workers.

Up to 50 English health authorities and trusts have not signed a New Deal employer agreement with their local job centres, in defiance of an order from the Department of Health. But health minister John Denham insisted the initiative had been a success in the NHS. He said the service would meet its target of 1,000 New Deal jobs by June this year.

However, only 348 people have been taken on by the NHS so far and he admitted there was much work to be done.

'But by building on its successes and establishing links with local employment services, the NHS is now in the right position to further its contribution to this vitally important policy,' he added.

It is true that the health service is making progress towards its targets – in October alone only 126 people had been recruited under the initiative.


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