As highlighted in recent coverage in Independent Nurse, change is really the only constant in life and certainly the only constant within the NHS.
For NHS GPs, nurses and midwives working in community settings, the changes in practice over the past decades have been led by government initiatives, rather than by frontline staff. These changes have usually aimed to ensure equitable service provision to meet the needs of the population. However, they have an impact on morale.
Although we would all like to continue providing free, accessible and comprehensive healthcare at the point of need, that aim is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. Demand for healthcare is potentially infinite, meaning putting increasing pressure on funding.
Changes in the way successive governments have provided funding to GPs has directly affected the way they employ staff and provide services.1 Redeployment of teams of health visitors and community nurses has happened frequently and caused much stress for all staff involved.
Many of the changes felt directly by staff come from external sources that aim to provide care more efficiently. How those changes are perceived by frontline staff depends on factors such as whether staff believe the changes will benefit patient care, hinder or facilitate professional working relationships and make their own jobs easier or harder.
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