Focus on nurse retention, says Blair

14 Feb 02
The NHS must become a 'world-class employer' if it is to deliver the high levels of care demanded by patients, Prime Minister Tony Blair said this week.

15 February 2002

In a speech to trust chief executives in London on February 13, Blair said the recruitment of more doctors and nurses was as vital as health service reform.

He told the chief executives they were 'leaders of change' and he believed the NHS had 'turned the corner', but acknowledged that more needed to be done, particularly on staff issues.

Figures announced last week showed that the government had reached its NHS Plan target of 20,000 extra nurses three years early. Launching the government's third annual nurse recruitment campaign, Blair said the NHS must offer its staff fairer pay, more flexible hours, improved childcare and better career prospects.

The £3.2m campaign is aimed in particular at nurses who have quit. Between 1999 and 2001, 10,000 have returned to the NHS.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, dismissed Blair's comments as 'platitudes'.


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