70 extra district nurses on their way to North Staffordshire
SEVENTY extra district nurses are being recruited to head off a feared exodus of staff who are 'stressed out' by paperwork and rising workloads.
Cash for the new £30,000-a-year recruits will come from £5 million set aside in 2013/14 to pay for extra care to keep patients out of hospital.
It follows a consultants' report commissioned by the NHS which found fewer staff and growing demands within the service.
Experts Sedgwick Igoe warned that the service is so stretched patients could soon be put at risk.
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District nurses visit the homes of patients just discharged from hospital to administer care, including changing wound dressings, taking blood and dispensing chemotherapy. It is aimed at stopping patients being readmitted to hospital beds.
The report states: "GPs believe the service is stretched and prompt action is needed to ensure care is sustained and not reduced.
"Nurses see their job increasing in complexity with patients living longer and having more complex conditions.
"They feel this has left them working long hours and the documentation that needs completing has mushroomed.
"The value of the contract has changed little in the past few years although additional services have been delivered. Together with an increase in activity, this has put particular strain on the district nurses causing many to consider if their future is within the service."
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups – set to run the area's NHS from next month – brought in the consultants after GPs raised concerns over district nursing staffing levels.
But Newcastle GP Dr Paul Scott, secretary of North Staffordshire Local Medical Committee, said: "This report underestimates the severity of the problem, which has been building up for six years."
John Kirby, acting chairman of a patient participation group in Clayton, said: "We had just two district nurses in our health centre which should have been covered by 21 of them."
John Davis, aged 77, of Bentilee, who is currently under the care of district nurses, said: "It is important to put more investment into community services."
CCG officials were today unable to reveal their annual district nursing budget.
Partnership Trust chief executive Stuart Poynor said: "We are pleased such significant investment is to be made into community nursing following the review. This will mean the creation of additional district nursing posts."