QNI raps Darzi for district nurse snub

The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) is concerned that district nurses were not mentioned in Lord Darzi's under-fire Next Stage Review.

The Health Select Committee says today that the need for GP-led health centres should be decided locally on a case-by-case basis rather than the one-per-PCT approach backed by the DoH.

QNI director Rosemary Cook said she was concerned that district nurses were not mentioned in Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review of the NHS last year.

‘District nursing embodies many of the essential aims of the review. The direction of health services today – from hospital to home – means that district nursing has a once in a generation opportunity to step into a future for which it is uniquely suited.’

District nursing is losing its identity as a profession to less skilled, generalist nursing, according to QNI report ‘2020 Vision’ published today.

The term ‘district nurse’ is increasingly used to describe nurses without district nursing qualifications like community healthcare assistants and case managers.

The report argues that the role has become undervalued. The number of qualified district nurses has fallen by 23% in the last decade, despite the number of nurses in primary care rising by 38%, and more care being provided in patients’ homes.

In a snapshot survey of roughly 100 district nurses across the UK, 13% said their employers do not use the term district nurse at all; in those organisations that do, almost a third also use the term to describe nurses that do not have a district nursing qualification. 

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

  • Read full coverage of the report in the next issue of Independent Nurse dated 19 January.
  • Was Darzi right to ignore district nurses in the Next Stage Review?

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