§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to increase the provision of district nurses in areas with the greatest health care needs. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The Government are employing a twin strategy to match supply and demand by investing in more training and strategies to improve the recruitment, retention and return to practice of trained staff.
In 1997–98, a total of £766 million is being spent on non-medical education and training which incudes: provision for an extra 1,300 new nurse training places, and an allocation of £10.4 million to support recruitment and retention initiatives such as return to practice programmes.
In 1998–99, a further £50 million will be invested in health professional training—including a further £30 million for new nursing and PAMs training commissions. The extra money will also support improved facilities for expanding training opportunities in primary care.
Community nurses, working within Primary Care Groups, will play a key role in delivering the aims of the Government's new NHS White Paper.