Community nurses have been encouraged to “step up and take the challenge” presented to them by NHS England’s five-year plan, which includes a shake-up of care delivery models and more leadership opportunities for nurses.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute, which represents district nurses, said it was delighted with proposals to expand clinical leadership in primary and community care to nurses and other healthcare professionals, and that it was time for the workforce to meet the challenge.
The organisation told Nursing Times it welcomed these and other changes detailed in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, such as the emphasis on public health actions and interventions to help reverse the upward trend of preventable ill health.
“We are delighted with the opportunities for community nursing leadership and development this report brings”
It said it was also pleased to see a change in focus around care delivery, emphasising care in people’s homes and communities.
QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman noted that the report underlined her organisation’s own findings, which had shown a significant underspend over the past decade in developing staff to lead and manage district nursing teams.
The size of the workforce has been in long-term decline but the most recent set of figures, fro July, suggested what the institute described as an ‘encouraging’ increase in newly-trained district nurses.
She said: “We are now seeing this trend being reversed and this, coupled with the stated planned increase in those working in the general practice nursing service, will be welcomed by all nurses working in these essential but very stretched and challenged services.”
Ms Oldman did add that she was disappointed to see care in communities described as “out-of-hospital” care in the five-year plan, because it perpetuated the notion that hospitals were the single reference point of healthcare.
“We are, overall, delighted with the opportunities for community nursing leadership and development that this report brings,” she said, adding: “It is time for community nursing to step up and take the challenge.”