Cutting back on district and community nurse numbers to try and save money is a “false economy”, a nursing academic has warned.
District nurse numbers dropped below 10,000 in England and Wales during 2010 and the trend has continued, despite government rhetoric about the need to transfer care from acute settings into the community.
University of Huddersfield senior lecturer in primary care Vicky Kaye said community nursing teams played a vital role in modern healthcare and argued that district nurse cutbacks by trusts were short sighted.
“They actually offer exceptionally good value, because they combine clinical, leadership and management skills,” she said.
Ms Kaye, a former district nurse in Bradford, made the comments following her successful application to become a Queen’s Nurse.
She said: “I will try and raise the profile of district nursing and argue for its importance.
“District nursing has changed dramatically,” she added. “Care in the community is now a lot more clinically focussed and complex. It used to be a lot more about social care.
“For example, you have patients at home who are on ventilators, with really complex needs, who previously would have been kept in hospital, or preventing people from being admitted to hospital so they can remain at home.”