NAHH response to RCN concerns about future of district nurses

(For e-hospice release)

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has recently expressed concern over the reduction of skilled district nurses in the community across England. This is not a surprise to the National Association for Hospice at Home (NAHH) who has acknowledged this trend and have worked with their members over several years to highlight the need for increased care in the community – especially for those at the end of life.

Many Hospice at Home organisations are dependent upon working in partnership with district nurses and have consistently reported pressures on district nursing teams ultimately increasing the demand on services such as Hospice at Home to support palliative care patients.

In principle this partnership works well aiming to provide a high quality service for patients however when the core service is compromised all resources are adversely affected contributing at times to inadequate care. It would seem cuts and changes to services rarely consider the impact on patients and families or the subsequent domino effect on all provider services involved in patient care. The RCN stated “a lack of any district nurses would not mean the end of home care visits but would lead to a serious disintegration of the community care system”. This is at a time when government targets are focused on caring for patients at home and enabling home deaths. For the government to realise their targets the core or “glue” of community services must be preserved and enhanced to enable other partners to continue to support these services, and those needing them into the future.

The NAHH fully support district nurses in addressing the workforce issues and being equipped to fully meet the escalating demands for their core services.

Sue Varvel & Kay Greene
Chair & Vice Chair
National Association for Hospice at Home
June 20th 2014

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