It is evident from this UNISON survey and the work being carried out within the District Nurse Review that this service is at risk of collapse. An aging workforce, poor staffing levels, IT solutions which are not fit for purpose, lack of clarity and
feelings of take over within the Integrated Health and Social Care agenda are all contributing to dangerously low morale.
District Nurses have a critical role to play in the future of Community or Care at Home based services, however without significant investment in staff and equipment the service will collapse inward.
Even where new models are being trialled there is concern and frustration that IT is seen as the silver bullet to resource pressures, when in reality the current IT works poorly and creates frustrations and workload issues.
UNISON recognises that there is emerging support for the development of new models of working, be that through the GP contract discussions currently underway or along the lines of the Dutch Social Enterprise, Burtzorg model where community based nurses work and organise themselves in small dynamic teams.
Whatever the solution, policy makers and political leaders need to listen to District Nurses and relearn the value of care.