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District nursing 'dramatic decline' says QNI

Widespread concerns have been raised over the number of new district nurses being trained amid fears there will not be enough to reach 'replacement level'. 

According to figures released by community nursing charity The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), the problem is especially pronounced in England. 

Just over 20% of district nursing courses in England did not have any students in 2012013. 

More than 65% of English district nursing courses had 10 students or less on the programme and 13% had five students or less. 

“It is essential that there are enough appropriately qualified and skilled district nurses to provide the care patients and carers need,” said Crystal Oldman, QNI chief executive. 

She said: “Those responsible for commissioning the local education and training of the community teams need to ensure sufficient numbers of district nurses are being trained each year to meet the current and the anticipated demand for their services.”

The report contains key recommendations to reverse the decline. It calls on education, policy and professional leaders to consider the evidence of the report in future education and workforce planning, and suggests that measures are taken to raise the profile of district nursing as a career.