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More palliative care nurses needed in the community

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More palliative care nurses are needed in the community, finds a survey from the National Council of Palliative Care.

The Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Survey , shows that there are a lot less community and district nurses working in palliative care, compared with nurses working in specialist palliative care units or hospital nurses. This highlights the need for an increase in resources for community and district nurses, as there has been a concerted effort to move more palliative care into the community. The number of NHS community palliative care nurses has remained at around the 500 mark for five years, while the number of voluntary nurses is nearly more than double that, the survey shows.

The figures also revealed that 40 per cent of specialist palliative care nurses were over the age of 50, so will be reaching retirement age soon.
This figure has been increasing each year over the last five years.

Simon Chapman, director of policy, intelligence and public affairs at the National Council for Palliative Care said: 'Palliative care staff play a crucial role in caring for people who are dying, but as our new report shows an ageing nursing workforce could present real problems in the future. That's why we need more in-depth research to understand the reasons for this so we can ensure a looming crisis is averted.'

It is projected that the numbers of people dying each year will increase from about 500,000 at present to around 586,000 by 2030.

Sue Ryder a charity that provides compassionate hospice and neurological care has launched a campaign to encourage CCGs to commission 24-hour palliative care services.

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