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Minister pressured to respond to NT story on district nurses


Health minister Simon Burns has pledged to write to MPs about the current state of the district nurse workforce following concerns highlighted in Nursing Times.

The House of Commons health committee last week confronted Mr Burns with a Nursing Times article when he appeared at an inquiry hearing on education, training and workforce planning.

The article, published two weeks ago, highlighted the government’s failure to promote district nursing alongside its national focus on health visitors as an area of “weakness” (news, page 5, 28 February).

Committee chair Stephen Dorrell said: “There’s a serious question raised in the Nursing Times – the suggestion that there’s been a depletion of the number of community/district nurses and that’s attributable at least in part to increasing the numbers of health visitors.

“It’d be interesting to the committee to know whether the department accepts that is true and, if it’s true, whether it’s desirable and whether something needs to be done about it.”

Mr Burns said he did not have the figures to hand but could “guarantee” to write to the committee.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Anonymous

    The House of Commons health committee seems to quite often point out problems with goverment health policy or behaviour - but it still seems to frequently get ignored.

    It seems intuitively obvious, that if the plan is to try to keep more patients at home as opposed to inside hospitals (and as we have an ageing population), this probably needs more District Nurses - the rocket-science bit, I would suggest, would be to show why that isn't true !

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  • Sadly, the NHS is dwindling directly as a result of the interference of those uniformed health secretaries, who deem to know more about ruining the NHS rather than 'running' it.
    It follows, therefore, that the more they debate it, the longer they have to do nothing about improving, it with a covert desire to sending it all out to the private sector.
    During this time, the elderly ill will become even more frailer; they will be taken off their expensive medications.....well why waste it on someone who is over three score tears and ten?, I can almost hear them ask.
    They will probably be taking their last few breaths before leaving our mortal world. That and as a result of slashing nursing posts will produce a huge saving in the Health budget, which will mean an even larger ££'s bonus awarded to some egocentric, megalomaniac, who will claim the plan wasall his/hers idea.

    I do hope that chap wins his plea to have his GP put him down, and not be convicted of murder, don't you?

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 12-Mar-2012 8:49 pm

    'I do hope that chap wins his plea to have his GP put him down, and not be convicted of murder, don't you?'

    Do you mean Tony N ?

    I don't think he will actually win his case - because assisted suicide isn't legal.

    But the interesting argument, is that some people like Lady Finlay are arguing that his desire would amount to the legalisation of murder - it clearly isn't murder, it would still be a version of assisted suicide.

    Because Tony N can to some extent control things by nodding or fixing his gaze at particular points - so, if the technology was put into place, he could himself 'throw the switch' by, for example, a particular pattern of staring at an icon on a computer screen.

    But - sadly - I think doctors will not be allowed to assist in any such arrangement, because of objections to further loosening of the law around suicide.

    It is the position of Lady Finlay, who was arguing against Tony N on R4, which i myself am unable to get my head around. The interview was 'pulled' just before the 'killer question' was about to be asked:

    'If you have provided all of the treatment/relief you can provide, who then decides if his suffering is still intolerable - the patient or the doctor ?'. To put that another way (the way I myself would put it to Lady F): 'If I were to keep hitting you in the face, who would decide if you were feeling any pain - you or I ?'. Lady F said that she did not accept that the only way to relieve a person's suffering might be to end their life - where she and I differ, because I think a person judges his/her own suffering !

    Tony also has said, that if he had the power to commit suicide, he might not take the option - but he wants the option to be available to him, as it is to physically capable people. Logically, I am 100% with Tony.

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