HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 c162W
Mr. Goodman

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on housing for nurses; and if he will make a statement. [18887]

Mr. Hutton

The importance of affordable, appropriate accommodation for national health service health care workers in areas where property prices are high is an important factor in the recruitment and retention of staff and in particular nurses. In recognising difficulties experienced by staff, an NHS housing co-ordinator has been appointed and the NHS plan set a target to provide an additional 2,000 extra units of accommodation in London within three years. In addition suitable accommodation is being sourced outside of London in appropriate locations.

The NHS co-ordinator, together with NHS trusts, had dialogue with a range of local authorities throughout the country to ensure that NHS key worker needs are reflected in local plans for housing and opportunities maximised for affordable housing secured through section 106 planning obligations. The identification of bids and subsequent commencement of implementing the starter home initiative has been a further example of successful joint co-operation.