MSP questions Health Secretary on future of Community Health Nurse programme

16 April 2009

Marlyn Glen is asking Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon when she will make a decision this year on the future of the community health nurse programme, in which nurses from NHS Tayside are participants.

The community health nurse model of nursing seeks to replace the separate nursing professions of school nurse, district nurse, and health visitor by a general community health nurse.

Four health boards, including Tayside, are taking part in the pilot scheme.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had already indicated that it would not take part in the pilot, and NHS Lothian has said that it would not employ any of the new-style community health nurses.

Research undertaken by the Scottish Government amongst nurses before the pilot found concerns about loss of career and specialist skills.

Furthermore, RCN Scotland surveyed its members who indicated similar concerns about the new post.

However, in NHS Tayside the pilot scheme continues on course.

Ms. Glen said ,

" The future of community nursing is a major issue in health care provision.

" RCN Scotland say that one in every three community nurses in Scotland will reach retiral age in the next decade, while at the same time the demand for services in the community will increase.

" Real problems would undoubtedly arise for developing careers in nursing in Scotland if there were to be community health nurses in some health boards, but the traditional range of nurses in others, with different professional qualifications."

Ms. Glen has tabled Parliamentary Questions to the Health Secretary on what has been the cost to the NHS in Tayside for carrying out the pilot scheme in the last financial year, and what has been the overall cost of the evaluation of the scheme itself.


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