Health minister Simon Burns has pledged to write to MPs about the current state of the district nurse workforce following concerns highlighted in Nursing Times.
The House of Commons health committee last week confronted Mr Burns with a Nursing Times article when he appeared at an inquiry hearing on education, training and workforce planning.
The article, published two weeks ago, highlighted the government’s failure to promote district nursing alongside its national focus on health visitors as an area of “weakness” (news, page 5, 28 February).
Committee chair Stephen Dorrell said: “There’s a serious question raised in the Nursing Times – the suggestion that there’s been a depletion of the number of community/district nurses and that’s attributable at least in part to increasing the numbers of health visitors.
“It’d be interesting to the committee to know whether the department accepts that is true and, if it’s true, whether it’s desirable and whether something needs to be done about it.”
Mr Burns said he did not have the figures to hand but could “guarantee” to write to the committee.