Call for more support and resources for community nurses

Photo by Dominik Lange on Unsplash

The National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is calling for more investment from the Government to support community nurses across Wales.

Community nurses deliver care in patients’ homes. They can support individuals and their families to manage their health, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable early discharge, and help maintain independence. These services are becoming an increasingly important part of the NHS workforce.


The changing nature of healthcare and a move to provide more care outside of hospital means that the role of community nurses has become increasingly demanding. The Committee has raised concerns that there is not an accurate picture of the community nursing service across Wales.

The ‘invisible service’

The report follows an inquiry by the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee where Assembly Members heard evidence from frontline community nurses on the day-to-day challenges they face. The Committee were alarmed to hear community nurses describe themselves as the ‘invisible service’.

AMs heard that despite the recognised contribution community nursing teams are making to the delivery of healthcare, little is known about this ‘invisible’ service. There is no accurate picture – at national level – of the number and skill mix of nursing teams, nor of the numbers of patients receiving care in their own homes. This is likely to have an impact on the effectiveness of workforce planning. There is also a lack of information about children’s nurses working in the community, district nursing is currently an adult-focused service.

Technology

One of the biggest issues raised by nurses working in the community is their inability to access the most appropriate technology to enable them to do their job effectively. Half of the community nurses who responded to the Committee said they had no access to a mobile device. They also reported that many employer-provided mobile phones had no software access to office calendar or e-mails.

The Committee believes that it is unacceptable that many nurses working in the community are reliant on paper-based systems and out-dated technology.

Recommendations

The Committee has provided ten recommendations for the Welsh Government to recognise the crucial work that community nurses do and to strengthen the service. The report focuses on:

  • Understanding staffing levels and the number of community nurses currently working across the country
  • The Welsh Government’s progress on developing a community nurse action plan for palliative care
  • Providing training opportunities for more nurses to become community nurses
  • Efforts to promote community nursing as an attractive career
  • Investment in technology such as mobile devices

Dai Lloyd AM, chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee said:

“We are proud of the work that community nurses do across the country, they are unsung heroes in the health service. We are concerned to hear from nurses about low staff morale and in some cases nurses are leaving the service as a result of stress and increased workload.

“The Welsh Government must provide community nurses with the support and resources they need to do their job.

“If we are to support individuals and their families to manage their health at home, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable early discharges and help maintain people’s independence then we need a clear picture of what the community nursing situation is in Wales at the moment and investment in the service.

“For the service to improve and thrive we need to make sure that staffing levels are right, that nurses are provided with the mobile technology they need to do their jobs effectively and that community nursing is seen as an attractive career.

“Community nursing is a key part of the future of the NHS in Wales and we are calling on the Welsh Government to listen to what frontline nurses are telling us and work to implement the recommendations laid out in our report.”

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Roger
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Roger

Don’t forget that Community Mental Health Teams are included in this but are often neglected in Reports.

Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

So more mobile phones are the answer to better health service in Wales? Mobile phones may play a beneficial role is some respects but why no discussion of the negative effects of mobile phones – both physical and psychological? Has our “representatives” in Cardiff Bay even considered 5G technology, originally designed as a military grade weapon, being rolled out in Cardiff? Not one study has been completed showing it is safe. Anecdotal evidence indicates it is not. If the Assembly wants to be seen as a force for good in Wales they are going to have to stop being a… Read more »

Rob Bruce
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Rob Bruce

Please. Why must every increment on old technology be greeted by moronic conspiracy theories? We’re better than this.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/26/how-baseless-fears-over-5g-rollout-created-a-health-scare

Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

The city of Brussels have already banned the roll-out of 5G citing safety concerns. I guess they must be wrapped up in “moronic conspiracy theories”. The guardian article, written with a clear industry bias, quoting only paid industry spokesmen, claims that the kind of 5G that is planned for the UK is not the bad 5G being rolled out in America – then completely neglects to disclose what kind of 5G it is. I’m not claiming it is bad for you, but don’t you think our “representatives” have a duty to ensure new technology is safe before giving it the… Read more »

Bill Badger
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Bill Badger

Millions are wasted due to the lack of a coherent electronic system for logistics, communication and recording to maximise efficiency.Its like expecting surgeons to use a saw and some bandages !

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

How about improving 4G in huge areas of Wales, 5G may be great in Cardiff, possibly Swansea, but many of us in South Wales (not really remote from anywhere) struggle with any kind of signal. Just not good enough. Government, BT , other service providers happy to take our money but service provision is just another line of spin in their smug marketing bull**** literature.

Rob Bruce
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Rob Bruce

Fair point. I can’t get any kind of signal at home unless I walk up to the end of my garden.

Rob Bruce
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Rob Bruce

Nope. Brussels has delayed the roll-out because it’s not possible to measure the strength of 5G signals using the methodology the regulators have previously used for 4G. They’ll have to come up with with an alternative that satisfies the regulators. That’s fine.
Also, the Guardian vs. a bunch of swivel-eyed bloggers and YouTubers. Who are you going to trust?