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District nurses battle through snow to reach patients

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Community nurses across the country have been praised for their efforts to get through the snow to reach isolated patients over the weekend.

Pictured is a district nurse Karen Alderson from Kingston in south London on Friday, after the first heavy snow reached the capital.

Meanwhile, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust said staff had stepped in to support colleagues by offering to change shifts, provide transport or visit patients in their local area.

Trust chief executive Michael Scott released a statement praising the dedication of his staff, saying it was their “determination and spirit” that meant patients had continued to be able to access care.

He said: “To help colleagues under pressure, staff who are not on duty have called in to see if they are needed [anmd] staff with 4x4s have offered to change shifts and work as they can get around more easily.

“People haven’t been able to get to their usual base have been reporting to units nearer to their homes so they can help out with patients there,” he added. “Many our nurses have been walking to patients in their own villages to ensure that they are seen.”

Likewise, staff working for Southern Health Foundation Trust were praised for their “hard work and determination” to ensure services across Hampshire continued to run smoothly on Friday.

Nurses were asked to work from their local GP surgery or a local site if they could not get to work safely. Many staff pooled together and shared lifts, some nurses walked to their appointments, and staff could also request the use of 4x4 vehicles to travel to patients’ homes.

Paula Hull, head of nursing and quality, said: “All staff really went that extra mile to make sure that patients received the care they needed.”

The trust’s chief executive, Katrina Percy, added: “A huge thank you to all staff who helped to ensure that services in the trust, continued to run smoothly throughout the day, and for delivering an exceptional high quality of care to all of our patients, despite the adverse weather conditions.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    More emphasis on care in the community and keeping people out of hospitals, does imply that bad weather should (or must) not prevent community clinicians from getting to the homes of patients - I'm wondering whether the powers that be have actually thought about this consequence ?

    It is a slightly different issue, from getting staff to hospitals, isn't it ?

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