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Community nurses to measure services

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Community nurses will free up more time to care and obtain new ways to measure their services as part of the NHS Next Stage Review.

Junior health minister Lord Darzi’s vision for primary and community care, published separately last week from the main report of the NHS Next Stage Review, will see nurses measure what they do, how long it takes and how much it costs, to help make community services more productive.

A system of ‘metrics and currencies’ will be designed to give commissioners greater understanding of work carried out in community nursing, which will help them decide what services to provide.

Moreover, under a new initiative – Transforming Community Services Programme (TCSP) – streams of work will be driven forward by a newly established programme board.

Working with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the board will roll out a productive community hospitals programme and develop a similar programme for community services – based on the institute’s productive ward scheme – to free up time for patients.

The programme board will focus on five key areas including the public health of children and families, rehabilitation, and end-of-life care to try to ease the transition of moving care from the acute sector to the community.

Community nurses will also play a greater role in practice-based commissioning with the ‘right to request’ to set up their own social enterprises.

TCSP lead Helen Fentimen said: ‘There has been less focus on community services than there has been in acute care. This is all excellent news for community nurses. It may take two or three years but we will make it happen.’

The board aims to give community nurses more details next month.

NT also understands the Department of Health is looking at health visiting numbers and will publish a review in the autumn.

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