Community Nurses

Department of Health written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Teresa Pearce Teresa Pearce Labour, Erith and Thamesmead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of (a) staffing numbers in NHS community and district nursing and (b) the ability of such staff to cope with changes in the level of demand.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Health and Social Care Information Centre publishes provisional monthly National Health Service hospital and community health service (HCHS) workforce statistics of directly employed staff in NHS trusts and social care trusts in England. The most recent statistics published on 23 September, showed that in June 2014 there were 66,969 full time equivalent qualified nursing and health visiting staff, including district nursing staff working in community-based services.

The Government established Health Education England (HEE) to be responsible for delivering a better health and healthcare workforce for England and for ensuring a secure future supply, to cope with changes in demand, taking into account factors such as the age profile of the existing workforce, the impact of technology, and new drugs.

In December 2013, HEE published its first annual workforce plan for England, covering the period 2014-15. This plan was determined through an assessment of future need by local NHS employers, and Local Education and Training Boards and used as the basis of an investment plan for England, which included community and district nursing requirements, alongside other professions.

This year HEE increased the number of training places for adult nursing by 9% and district nursing by 7.2%.

Since May 2010 the overall number of nurses has increased by 3,379 (1.1%). As part of the Government's response to the Francis Inquiry, many of these increased nurses have been in hospital settings. However, the Government's longer term ambition is to train increasing numbers with the skills to work across all clinical settings. The Mandate to HEE recognises the need for a greater emphasis on community, primary and multi-integrated health and care, requiring working in multidisciplinary teams to break down barriers between primary and secondary care.

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