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District nursing figures show 'shocking' fall in numbers

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.

Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, described the figures reported in the Daily Mirror as “shocking”.

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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Readers' comments (7)

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  • Removed due to offensive nature

  • michael stone

    I have only 3 comments:

    This is ABSURD.

    This is ABSURD.

    This is ABSURD.

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  • What an ill informed and vindictive comment by Anonymous | 19-Dec-2013 1:04 pm! I am shocked to think this might've come from a nursing colleague.

    District nursing has been asset stripped by managers for years, using HCAs to substitute for qualified DNs, to the detriment of patient safety and reducing effectiveness of care. The workloads are unrealistic - these really are 'wards without walls'. DN teams are expected to cope with patients who have no informal carers at home with them, poor communications from other agencies and non-availability of therapy input, social services and care equipment. Add to this the difficulties of dealing with out of hours medical services, antisocial behaviour, modern traffic & parking problems and you will understand that it's very different working in the community compared with the sheltered environment of a hospital ward.

    We really have to stop this nonsense about having to continually 'demonstrate our value'. Any NHS manager or policy maker who can't understand the needs of sick, disabled or terminally ill people for nursing care in their own homes is unfit for their job.

    My own job is to care for my patients, not to conduct a non-stop PR campaign to the ignorant in order to keep my job & maintain the service I deliver.

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  • tinkerbell

    District nurses work their socks off in the community and now those in my area are being withdrawn from providing input to the care homes I visit. I was told they have been 'disbanded'. This will potentially increase hospital admissions. Sinking the ship for a ha'peth of tar.

    If anyone should be disbanded it should be this havoc wreaking, reckless coalition and their disastrous re-disorganisation 'don't care in the community' reforms.

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  • Completely mad, isn't it? They need to be building up Community services, not obliterating them!

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  • michael stone

    mags | 19-Dec-2013 7:48 pm

    Quite - we keep being told that 'the master plan' is to treat people more effectively in the community to avoid hospitalisation, so this is absolute madness.

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  • Mags
    Merry Christmas! x

    Mike Stone
    What is the LAW on CPR in this country? Merry Christmas as well.

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