Community matrons will play an increasingly key role in “case managing” care for the rapidly rising number of people with long term conditions, the government’s national clinical lead for quality and productivity has told Nursing Times.
GP Sir John Oldham said patients benefited from having one person to co-ordinate their care and bring in specialist advice when needed – rather than seeing a “Monty Pythonesque queue of case managers, who only deal with one illness”.
Speaking to Nursing Times ahead of a London conference on long term conditions and NHS modernisation last week, he called for community nurses in general to work in a more integrated way. He noted that many areas were now looking at linking district and community nurses with particular practices, as has already taken place in East Kent (news, page 6, 15 March).
Sir John said nurses could “be part of a greater whole and be a contract for patients, rather than working in silos”.
He also suggested telehealth – expected to be backed later this year by results from large-scale NHS trials – would lead to widespread changes in working for community nursing teams.
This would see nurses remotely assessing results from patient self-monitoring – potentially reducing the workload of community staff, who otherwise would have to visit them.
Sir John’s comments came as health secretary Andrew Lansley warned that the number of people with two or more long-term conditions would increase by 252 per cent by 2050.
“The average cost of someone without a long-term condition is around £1,000, which rises to £3,000 for someone with one condition and to £8,000 for people with three or more conditions, the additional associated cost pressure of caring for people with multiple co-morbidities could reach £4bn by 2016,” said Mr Lansley, who was addressing a conference on long-term conditions today.
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