§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been conducted into the efficacy, mortality rates, cost-efficiency, patient satisfaction and public perception of midwife and nurse practitioner units in England.
§ Mr. Sackville
A number of research studies, some funded by the Department of Health, address different issues concerning efficiency, cost-effectiveness, patient satisfaction and public perception in relation to nurse development units and nurse practitioners and the nurse practitioner scheme in England. The question of mortality rates is not generally applicable to nurse practitioners but will be covered in a study of NDUs.
In August 1993, following an evaluative study funded by the Department of Health, the King's fund centre published "A Way to Develop Nurses and Nursing", a report on the four pilot NDUs funded by the King's fund. A further study is being carried out of the 30 Department of health-funded NDUs.
Earlier this month Touche Ross issued a report, "Evaluation of the Nurse Practitioners"; this was initiated and funded by the former South East Thames regional health authority with a contribution for evaluation purposes from the Department of Health. The Department is also evaluating 10 nurse practitioner schemes set up in 1994 and has commissioned a literature review of role expansion with particular reference to nurse practitioners.
Work is being done to evaluate midwifery group practices in three locations. The main areas of work include basic audit of midwifery care, economic evaluation, assessment of staffing issues, women's experiences of care and the use of local maternity information systems.