Figures revealing that district nurse posts have fallen by 2,000 in three years vindicate warnings of shortages, according to community nursing leaders.
Workforce data collected under the Freedom of Information Act by the Labour Party show there were 7,813 district nurses in England in May 2010 – when the coalition government came to power – but there are now 2,020 fewer.
The community nursing organisation has been warning of shortages via its Right Nurse, Right Skills campaign for the past three years.
Ms Oldman said: “We have consistently argued that more district nurses are necessary if we are to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable safe early discharges, and support an ageing population with complex long term health needs in the community setting.
“This is particularly relevant during the winter months, with the added pressures that this puts on all health services,” she said.
The QNI said it would publish a report on the overall state of district nursing next year, which would be based on a survey of over 1,000 frontline practitioners.
Liz Kendall, Labour spokeswoman on care and older people, said: “Cutting district nurses is a false economy. Taxpayers end up paying millions of pounds extra every month because patients can’t get the care they need in the community or at home.”
Ms Kendall added: “Older people don’t want to have to go to hospital – or to get stuck there.”
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