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The fortnightly roundup of key political and clinical news for primary care and community nurses.

Wound Care

Debridement pad can save money

NICE has advised that a monofilament debridement pad, already widely used by district and practice nurses, could save up to £484 per patient. Debrisoft enabled faster, more effective treatment of acute and chronic wounds, according to a NICE medical technologies guidance.

The NICE committee concluded that Debrisoft is more effective and quicker at debriding, may reduce pain associated with debridement, results in less frequent and fewer overall care visits, reduces the risk of trauma to healthy tissue, and reduces bleeding.

Debrisoft is manufactured by Activa Healthcare.


Menopause training

A series of study days educating practice nurses about the menopause will be held by a specialist nurse who previously received a bursary from the RCN.

Kathy Abernethy was granted a RCN Foundation Bursary to develop primary care nurse education on the menopause in 2013. She held four UK-wide study days and was able to secure commercial partner funding to hold another three days this year.

Ms Abernethy, a clinical nurse specialist at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, said that primary care nurses often see and advise women on this important topic so they need to be up to date.

'Choices at the Change' study days will be held in Glasgow (21 May), Cardiff (13 June) and Manchester (14 Nov). The topics will include assessment of women and diagnosis, lifestyle and health promotion, and HRT updates (risks and benefits).

To book a place on the course visit:

Public Health

School nursing strategy

The government has released a school nursing strategy to maximise the contribution of nurses to the public health of school-aged children.

The joint document by the Department of Health (DH) and Public Health England (PHE) outlines the ways that local authorities can commission school nurses to meet the needs of children within each locality.

In addition to the guidance, the DH and PHE are developing a series of joint local briefings with the Local Government Association to accompany the guidance. This aims to support commissioning of school nursing services. The briefings will be published shortly.

Drugs and Alcohol

Improving recovery services

Sixty-seven drug and alcohol recovery services across England have received a share of £10 million funding, distributed by Public Health England.

Services that will benefit include a residential rehabilitation unit for mothers and babies in Plymouth; community recovery hubs in the East and North East of England, and a crisis detox centre in London.

All recovery-oriented drug and alcohol treatment and support services were invited to apply for a share of the fourth round capital funding. Patients and communities are likely to benefit from service improvement as a result of the extra funding.


RCN EU manifesto

The RCN launched its European Election manifesto on 28 March and has urged members of the European parliament to back its agenda.

The manifesto includes recommendations to: champion safe and transparent staffing levels for nurses across the EU; ensure an appropriately educated, regulated and developed nursing workforce across the EU; support access to healthcare services at times of economic austerity, particularly for vulnerable groups, and use EU legislation to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce health inequalities.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: 'Prospective MEPs should listen to the voices of nursing staff and support these manifesto priorities in order to promote the best possible standards of patient care, while ensuring a properly resourced, staffed, and regulated workforce.'