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'How can nurses contribute to the care of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society?'


This month, CNO Christine Beasley discusses clinical senates, learning disabilities and dementia in the UK

This month has seen the publication of the NHS Future Forum report on the listening exercise and I would like to thank those of you who contributed to this important process.

The government has accepted the core recommendations of the NHS Future Forum’s report, which include the need for at least one registered nurse on each of the governing bodies that will be set up to oversee the clinical commissioning groups (formerly called GP consortia).

Nurses will be able to get involved in clinical senates that will give expert advice on how to make patient care fit together seamlessly in each area of the country, which the clinical commissioning groups will be expected to follow.

There are many developments where nurses can use their influence and become even more involved. Over the last few weeks, one of the consistent themes that people have spoken to me about concerns the nursing contribution to the care of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society.

This edition of the CNO Bulletin comes out just after national learning disabilities week (20-26 June), so it is a good time to refocus on what we must do for people with learning disabilities to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect, and receive the care and support they need.

Another national initiative sets out to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. With many more people now receiving care and being treated in acute and community settings, it is critical that nurses from all areas of practice and leadership are equipped to meet the challenges this presents.

The Department of Health is one of more than 40 organisations that are part of the Dementia Action Alliance, which is committed to transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia in the UK, and the millions of people who care for them.

In partnership with people with dementia and their carers, members of Dementia Action Alliance have signed a National Dementia Declaration, which sets out the huge challenges presented to our society by dementia and some of the outcomes we seek to achieve.

The Dementia Action Alliance and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement have recently launched ‘The Right Prescription: a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia’. It promotes appropriate prescribing and aims to reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs by people in this group.



Readers' comments (2)

  • Many articles are written regarding care for the most vulnerable members of society, all valid extremely important and vital. But who speaks for those young single people experiencing homelessness? As clinical lead nurse for homelessness, over the past year in these ever changing times I have a constant headache from 'banging my head on the wall'.
    Who is interested in this? It isn't sexy and doesn't earn many QOF points, even management don't understand homelessness and the associated needs, so how can they commission services?
    There is no legal definition (other than under housing law) of homelessness, so how do you quantify how many people this affects, if you do not know how many people it affects how can you begin to commission services.
    Homelessness is not just about rough sleeping!

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  • I agree. I also work with vulnerable people, ie: homeless, substance misuse, people living below the poverty line. We do what we can but our clients suffer on a daily basis through lack of services and long waiting lists.

    Laughably the "homeless" estimate is based on seeing how many people were sleeping rough on a particular night, they had to be asleep and outside on the streets, not in abandoned buildings or awake or in queues for food. Apparently Manchester has 7 and Birmingham 6!!

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