secretary Alan Milburn has announced that the NHS has hit
its 20,000 nurse recruitment target ahead of schedule.
Milburn said that the
nurses and midwives had been recruited three years earlier than anticipated.
However, while the
target has been hit sooner than expected, a significant number of the recruits
are part-time staff, taking some of the gloss off the government fanfare.
The figures show that
last year the number of nurses in the NHS increased by 4.3 per cent (14,400) –
the largest ever yearly rise.