AN MP has urged the NHS to become more family-friendly, to entice nurses back to work after they have children.
In a Commons health debate Wakefield Labour MP David Hinchliffe said that the NHS was heading in the right direction, thanks to investment, but there was a long way to go.
He added: "The Government have probably done more than any other in the history of the NHS to try and deal with staff shortages. They should be commended rather than criticised.
"The Government's efforts have also brought about investment in training and they are attempting to establish a family- friendly NHS.
"This is important for getting people, particularly nursing staff, back into the health service when they have left to have children."
Mr Hinchliffe - whose constituency covers Kirkburton and Denby Dale -
also said the belief that using private health care took a weight off the NHS was `a load of nonsense'.
He said: "We often get told that somehow a person choosing to go private assists the NHS.
"They are damaging the NHS by giving consultants the continuing incentive to treat people privately.
"We have to get those consultants back in the NHS."
The Government has pledged to spend billions more on the NHS. By 2008, annual spending is expected to be more than £100bn, as against £79bn this year.