GPs under pressure after district nurse cuts

Practices face rising pressure because of a sharp drop in district nurse numbers, GP leaders have warned.

Dr John Grenville: district nurse cuts add to pressure on GPs
Dr John Grenville: district nurse cuts add to pressure on GPs

District nurse numbers in the NHS have slumped by 2,000 since the coalition government took office in 2010, according to data collected by the Labour party under the Freedom of Information Act.

In 2010 there were 7,813 district nurses in England, the data show, but this has fallen by 2,020 since that time, according to figures published in The Mirror newspaper.

Derbyshire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville told GP: 'I think it does mean additional pressure on GPs. Managers with fewer staff become much more focused on the boundaries between what a district nurse does and what a practice nurse does.'

Dr Grenville said the move in the NHS in recent years away from a practice-based model of district nursing to teams covering larger geographical areas had also affected practices workload.

'It means communications with the nurses looking after your patients is much more difficult,' he said.

He added that general practice was already under huge pressure from rising workload and falling resources, and that despite changes to the GP contract from 2014/15, practices would continue to struggle to cope.

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