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PCT shuts out of hours service


A London primary care trust has shut its district night nurse service saying there has not been sufficient patient demand to justify it.

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NHS Newham stopped providing the night service two weeks ago. A spokesman for the PCT said a review had found that since January only two people were regularly visited by it.

The district nursing service’s daytime hours have been extended in light of the closure and both of the patients’ needs were now being met by early morning and late evening working.

The spokesman said the service was not an emergency service and that patients were referred by other professionals, which had allowed the visits to be rescheduled. He added there had been no job losses as the team’s nurses had been redeployed into the daytime service.

News of the closure follows a critical report last week from the national end of life care intelligence network, which found NHS Newham had the joint fourth highest proportion of patients dying in hospital in England, at 71.3 per cent in 2005-07.

The report highlighted how far the health service had to go before implementing the ambition set by the 2008 end of life care strategy, which said all patients nearing the end of their lives should have access to 24 hour personal care in the community and should be allowed to die at home if they wish rather than in hospital.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Looking at this, I think we should look at the figures. Running a night service that served only two patients is not cost effective. I will agree with the PCT as every government organization is saving money now. As far as staff have not lost their jobs and patient's care has not been compromised as A+E departments are still open all hours, I think there is justification for closure of the service. For patient's choosing to die at home, there will measures in place to cover the out of hours for them because as we all know End of life care is a government strategy and for that matter I think this PCT will not compromise that. We need to think about cost effectiveness in this issue.

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  • I can only think that this PCT did not publicise its service in any way.
    Within my Trust the night service is so busy there is a waiting list for visits. Who sees their palliative care pateints during the night if they need more analagesia or sorts out the catheters that get blocked?
    It sounds to me as if the patients must all end up in A&E which must be far more expensive for hte PCT than the night service.

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  • As an employee of this trust, I feel it was right that the night service was rightly closed due to lack of use and mis-use of staffing resources, however this report above is misleading and incorrect - the day district nursing service have NOT extended there hours since the closure of the night service - this is incorrect information. During the 14years i have worked for this Trust their hours have always been the same - the day service does NOT start any earlier and the evening shift finish does NOT finish any later.

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