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Cornwall review explores joined-up care options

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Greater joint working between nurses in primary and secondary care is required, a review in West Cornwall has stated.

The West Cornwall (Penwith) Community Services review, carried out by Kernow CCG, aimed to bring together the views of patients and healthcare professionals to decide if needs are currently being met and how to meet those that are not.

The review identified that nursing in the community is 'inadequate' citing problems with capacity and the ability to act professionally with flexibility as a reason. The nursing resource includes district nurses, practice nurses, community matrons, specialist nurses and nurses in care homes.

It concluded that while there are a sufficient number of nurses, each has a limited scope of duty due to how they are contracted, employed or commissioned. A need to reduce bureaucracy and combine the skills of nurses was highlighted.

'The review identified a number of areas of work. We need to enhance some services and explore options for more joined-up ways of working,' said Dr Neil Walden, the lead GP for Penwith. 'The key to success is to maintain good standards and quality of care ensuring provision of services in the most appropriate care settings for individual patients. As part of this work we are looking at current nursing provision, and have included the skills resource of practice nurses and specialist nurses work as well as community nurses,' he added.

The review recommends changing contracting arrangements with Peninsula Community Health allowing district nurses, community matrons and specialist nurses greater flexibility of duties. Another recommendation was to join up training and education opportunities to develop a common base of expertise leading to specialist roles.

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