Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what reduction in numbers within the North Down and Ards community unit of management there has been in the past three months in(a) bank nurses and (b) twilight nursing services; what effect these 179W reductions will have on the community nursing budget; and if he will make a statement on the impact of these reductions on the constituency of Strangford.
§ Mr. Hanley
There have been no reductions over the last three months in staffing levels in the district nursing service within the North Down and Ards community unit of management and no reduction in the community nursing budget. Absences due to sickness in the twilight nursing service in the Ards area have been covered by using the nurse bank which is a pool of nurses, not on contract, who work as required and are paid for the duties performed. The nurse bank scheme was suspended temporarily earlier this year but is now, once again, fully operational and will be used as required to ensure the continued provision of the best possible community nursing service.