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District nurses carrying ‘more responsibility than ever before’, says report

District nurses carrying ‘more responsibility than ever before’, says report

District nurses are working with increased workloads and more complex patient needs, a new report from The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has shown.

The report was launched by QNI chief executive, Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, at the National District Nursing Network (NDNN) meeting in London today.

Over 1,500 district nurse team leaders from all countries of the UK contributed to the report, through an online survey undertaken in 2023.

The survey makes extensive comparison with data gathered by the QNI in 2019, examining trends in the workforce since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report shows that district nurses are carrying more responsibility than in the previous survey, and this is increasingly reflected in the role being paid at Band 7 on the Agenda for Change scale.

It also reveals that team leaders are responding to the increased complexity of their work by developing their knowledge, skills and qualifications when the opportunity is given, responding to the greater level of complexity in the people they serve.

However, the report shows that district nursing services remain critically under-resourced, with multiple indicators that teams are struggling with capacity.

The report highlights how more teams are carrying bigger caseloads, with the number of district nursing teams working with 600 or more patients having risen by 16.2% in 2023.

Findings also reveal how efforts to reduce workload are not always successful, only 4.5% of respondents believing that virtual wards have decreased their workload, with 46.2% stating that they had made ‘no difference’.

Commenting on the report, Dr Crystal Oldman, said: ‘District nursing is a highly valued, universal community service which is provided in every village, town and city.

‘District nurses, and by extension the individuals, families and communities they care for, are at the centre of the QNI’s mission and values. They are also a core part of the National Health Service in the UK.

More to follow

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