To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of district nurses; and what steps he is taking to increase the (a) retention and (b) recruitment of district nurses.
11 June 2019
The latest NHS Digital workforce statistics (February 2019) showed that there were 4,324 full-time equivalent district nurses working in National Health Service trusts.
NHS Improvement and NHS Employers are working in partnership to support trusts to improve retention of the whole nursing workforce including district nurses. They offer targeted support to trusts to collaborate on key issues affecting retention such as flexible working, supporting new starters and older workers, and development and career planning.
Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for setting the number of District Nurse Specialist Practitioner Qualification training places available each year in England, which is based on its assessment of service gaps and predicted workforce needs.
HEE has agreed to provide funding for all community nursing specialist practice qualifications until 2020. In addition to this, a District Nurse (Level 7) Apprenticeship standard is currently in development, which will provide an alternative route into the profession.