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Number of district nurses fallen by 40%

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

For over 150 years, district nurses have been supporting people in their own homes, keeping them out of hospital.  Official figures are showing, however, that the number of district nurses has fallen by 40% in the past 10 years. The Health and Social Care Information Centre has reported that where a decade ago there were around 13000 district nurses working for the NHS in England, there are now fewer than 7500, many of whom are close to retirement age. At the same time, the pressure on hospital accident and emergency departments is increasing, with attendances rising by approximately 50% in the past 10 years. Nursing leaders are describing NHS community nursing in England as “lamentable”.

Pressure on emergency services

Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive has demonstrated concern about the state of community nursing, pointing out that the lack of patient support in their own homes is adding to pressure on emergency departments and ambulance services. He pointed out that the reduction of district nurses, together with the rising population and complex health conditions was “failing people who deserve so much more”.

District nurses have been reporting frustrations in carrying out their jobs, from lack of adequate time to spend with the ever-increasing patient lists, to the burden of filling in paperwork. They are also unhappy about the length of their working hours, and are generally feeling overstretched.

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