§ Mr. Pavitt
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the present level of recruitment into the nursing speciality of health visitor.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The number of health visitors (including field work teachers and multiple duty staff) employed by the National Health Service in England at 30 September 1983, the latest year for which detailed information is available, was 9,708, an increase of 2.2 per cent. over the previous year. We are advised by the English National Board for Nursing Midwifery and Health Visiting that the number of health visitors entering training in England in the year ended 31 March 1985 was 848 compared with 925 in 1984. It is for health authorities to decide, in the light of local priorities and the resources available to them, how many health visitors they should employ and how many trainees they should recruit to meet service needs. A recent survey for the Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives and Health Visitors showed that only 1.2 per cent. of all whole-time equivalent funded posts for health visitors remained vacant for over three months.