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Bad news reigns, but hope springs eternal

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Rather depressing news on the state of district nursing, health visiting and general practice nursing has been dripping into the RCN this week. Posts are being cut, skill mixed teams further reduced and education plans stopped.

As reported last week, workload reviews carried out by companies such as Meridian are spreading across the nation like a severe, irritating rash that refuses to respond to treatment.

The RCN is planning on taking the offensive early next year.

Health ministers are clearly working up until the final hour and this week the health secretary Alan Johnson presented his speech on his new strategy, ‘Putting People First’. The new social care reform concordat has been launched and we should all be pleased that this is a thoroughly joined up initiative.

Putting People First is the start of a groundbreaking (don’t you just love the seductive rhetoric?), cohesive relationship between Government, local authorities and the NHS. The aim, once again, is to transform services and improve the lives of people at the receiving end of services. These services currently run along the lines of their own objectives, rather then those of the people they serve.

Once again, we have to think of the future and who will be requiring care in 20 or so years’ time. Maybe people just like me. The baby boomers are coming of age and may well be requiring services in the near future. It always amuses me that so many women of my age still work while also looking out for neighbours, grandchildren and elderly parents who cannot believe that they are still alive and enjoying themselves.

The trends are clear to all those who have a blinker of insight and intelligence. We will want to stay in our own homes; we will want control over our lives; we will need high-quality, useful information and a mighty amount of respect and consideration should we become full-time carers. And do not want an overbearing state telling me how to live in my twilight years.

So my message is keep life, self-control and opportunities to lead eccentric pastimes alive. If Government policy works to help me achieve these things when I am 85 years old and wearing a bright orange dress and lime green leggings, I shall certainly support it.

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