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Gloucestershire District Nurses Speak Out

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:48
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Stroud Against the Cuts have become concerned about changes to the provision of District Nursing in Gloucestershire lately, and have sought answers to questions from Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) and the Health Care and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Gloucestershire County Council. We have also demonstrated our support for District Nurses at a lobby of the board of GCS.

The comments below have all come from individual District Nurses in Gloucestershire, partly in response to an invitation made by SATC. We continue to invite District Nurses to get in touch with information or anonymous comments on the changes so that we can help to publicise what is happening ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | 07583 497887).


1. "The proposals mean we are expected to cover extended hours but we have been told that there will not be any more district nurses, so this means an obvious dilution to the service we currently provide. On top of this there are nurses who are unable to take on the the new shift pattern because of their circumstance. For instance, a number of them are single parents. These staff are effectively being forced to hand in their notice. This will dilutes the service even more - at least until they recruit, which always takes considerable time.

Previously we have visited patients in pairs, but in May the lone working policy was changes so we will visit patients alone. We are very concerned that we will have to go out alone in the dark to places/people who are unfamiliar to us. We've been told there is no evidence to show that we are more likely to be attacked at night than during the day - but we have not been shown any evidence to back this up. Some staff will have no base, and instead have been told they can 'hot desk' at one of the 54 desks in the new social services office due to open in January, which is impractical - not least in terms of patient confidentiality."


2. "I am concerned about how the changes to work hours will affect the service as it seems the number of staff working for the current service will be diluted over additional hours. I am personally unsure how I will be able to fit my job around child care and my partners shift pattern and so on if I'm forced to change my work hours. The change in hours is quite dramatic rather than a slight adjustment - this is really stressful! I worry that when people hear that there is a large cash injection they will think it will enhance our service but the money is actually aimed at a different part of the service [the rapid response element, see below comment from Stroud Against the Cuts]."


3. "There are so many of us that are deeply concerned with the proposed changes. Staff are facing dramatic changes in their life circumstances with is causing a great deal of anxiety. Many experienced staff are unable to work the proposed hours due to other commitments. If the Trust go ahead with their plans I think we will lose, completely unnecessarily, these experienced staff. A loss in experienced staff may put patient care at risk and lead to a poorer service. Documents are no substitute for relationships built up over time. We don't understand why new nurses couldn't have been recruited to cover an extension in hours, rather than existing staff having their hours completely changed."

"Our service will not be able to cope with extending the day to cover 15 hours rather than the 11 hours we currently cover. The trust reports there is £3.9 million to support this service, however the more conversations I hear, the more I believe this money is really for the rapid response service only. Even if we are entitled to some of this money, how on earth can we recruit and train staff in time for the roll out of this service? The length of time it takes to train a community nurse should not be underestimated, due to the unique nature of them working alone, often having to be self reliant"


4. "I am completely against the changes proposed. Despite repeated requests, staff have not seen any evidence that supports the need to change our current service provision. I have not known of any occasions where a patient's needs have not been met by our current shift pattern. However, we are already just about managing our caseloads with the current hours/staff. Now we are being asked to cover additional hours without additional District Nurses, I really believe patient care will actually be compromised by the changes. On a personal level, this is causing me great anxiety and stress. Due to other commitments I cannot work the proposed shifts and will be looking for another job in the near future. This makes be very sad indeed as I am in the privileged position of loving my job."

Last Updated on Monday, 16 December 2013 19:10