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Topical Questions

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 25th January 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley The Secretary of State for Health 2:30 pm, 25th January 2011

Well, I do not wish to embarrass the chief executive of the NHS, but actually, he told me he made an error-he was referring to health visitors, not midwives, when he was talking to the Public Accounts Committee. We are short of health visitors precisely because, through the life of the last Government, the number was continuously going down, and we are going to recruit more. Actually, we share the last Labour Government's commitment to increase the number of midwives, not least because of the increase in the number of births, and to do so in pace with that. As a consequence, in conversations that the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend Anne Milton, and I have had with the Royal College of Midwives, we have made it clear that we will do all we possibly can. We already have more midwives in training than at any other time in our history.