On 13th December 2018 Baroness Wheeler asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Brexit and the Health & Social Care Workforce in the UK, published on 6 November.” The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the value that he places on those working in the social care and health sector, but the National Institute of Economic and Social Research identifies that the sector is under considerable pressure, even before we consider Brexit. The Royal College of Nursing states that fewer nurses started training in our universities this year. Fifteen per cent of all our nursing roles have vacancies in London. Experience tells us that recruitment is complex. Can the Minister reassure the House that in an environment that uses the language of taking back control of our borders and controlling immigration, steps are being taken to reassure not just those within the EU but outside it that they remain a valued and essential part of our diverse health and social care sector?
Lord O’Shaughnessy: I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for the opportunity to say that we value every person who works in this country in those professions. We want to ensure that they are able to stay and contribute to the health and wealth of our country. I point out we are improving both recruitment and retention not only through increases in the living wage but through changes to the Agenda for Change pay deal concluded earlier this year. It will give 1 million staff at least a 3% pay increase by the end of 2018-19, and increase the starting salary of a nurse by nearly 10% to almost £25,000 by 2021.