NHS must make most of district nurses and health visitors

The NHS must learn from previous reorganisations and not waste the opportunity to modernise community services provided by district nurses, health visitors, physiotherapists and other staff.

This is one of the key findings from a report by the King’s Fund think tank which offers practical advice to PCTs on how to reform community health services.

By October PCTs have been told by the government that they must separate their role as commissioners from their role as providers.

The aim is to enable PCTs to improve community services by allowing them to focus on commissioning, removing the conflict of being both a provider and commissioner, and by encouraging competition for services.

Niall Dickson, King’s Fund chief executive, said: ‘We need to shift care from hospitals closer to people’s homes, and these services need to be at the heart of this. Together with general practice and effective social care they must transform the way we support patients with long-term conditions, arguably the greatest challenge facing the health service in the 21st century.’

neil.durham@haymarket.com

  • Are patients with long-term conditions the greatest NHS challenge?

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