A petition has been started urging the government to tackle the district nursing shortage.
Started by Gordon Roberts, it stated that ‘the district nursing service, with the reductions in staffing since 2003 is at breaking point’.
If the cuts continue at the rate they are now, the district nursing service could become extinct by 2025 the petition claims.
At the time of going to press, the petition had 4586 signatures. If a petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the government must respond in writing and at 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.
Figures from the Royal College of Nursing revealed that between 2003 and 2013 there was a 47% drop in the number of district nurses from 12,620 to 6656.
Crystal Oldman, the chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, said that this was a ‘well-documented issue’ among nurses working in the community and in primary care.
A report from the Queen’s Nursing Institute in March 2016 revealed that although there has been a rise in the number of training places for district nurses, growth has been slower than anticipated.
In 2013/14 there were 329 new students, in 2014/15 there were 446 and the predicted intake for 2015/16 is 494 in England. So although there has continued to be an increase in places, it is increasing by less.
‘We will be unable to fulfil the aims of the Five Year Forward View in England without addressing the shortage of district nurses,’ said Ms Oldman. She highlighted that they are a critical part of the community workforce, supporting people in their own homes.
‘The district nursing service facilitates early hospital discharges and reduces the incidence of unplanned admissions to hospital – without the district nursing service, our hospital systems would be brought to a standstill within days,’ she added.
The petition will run until January 2017 and can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/159907.