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NHS health board pulls out of controversial community nurse pilot scheme

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NHS Lothian has scrapped plans to bring in generic ‘community nurses’ to replace health visitors, school nurses and district nurses.

The Scottish health board had been one of four pilot sites along with NHS Borders, Highland and Tayside to test the controversial model spearheaded by the Scottish government earlier this year.

The proposals have met with stiff opposition from health service unions and NHS Lothian has decided it will look instead to group or ‘cluster’ health visitors and district nurses together in GP practices – who will then share best practice and support other GP practices.

NHS Lothian nurse director Heather Tierney-Moore said: ‘We will continue to explore with our staff how we might improve the model of care we offer in community nursing, as there is widespread agreement that our current model will not be sustainable in future as people receive more care close to where they live.

‘Demand for community nursing services is increasing and the numbers of nurses available in future is projected to decrease,’ she said.

Responding to the announcement a Scottish government spokeswoman said: 'The work being carried out by the four pilot sites will influence and shape community nursing services. Although we do not expect a one-size-fits-all approach for boards, we hope they will use tools from the project to inform their thinking.

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