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Midwives, Health Visitors And District Nurses

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 24 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the ratios recommended by his Department for (a) midwives, (b) health visitors and (c) district nurses to local population in a district health authority.

Guidance issued to local health authorities in 1972 suggested that, excluding school nursing, a ratio of one health visitor to 4,600 population was reasonable for some areas, while a ratio of one health visitor to 3,000 population might be desirable in others, for example those with highly developed systems of attachment to general medical practice or with a high immigrant population. For district nursing it was suggested that in some areas an average of one district nurse to 4,000 population might be desirable, while in others with extensive attachment schemes or with a high proportion of elderly or disabled people a ratio of one district nurse to 2,500 population might be indicated. However, this guidance is 10 years old and health authorities need to reassess for themselves what their aims should be.