Is the District Nursing service being overlooked?
2 December 2019
QNI responds to calls to drop home visits from the GP contract in England.
Community nursing charity, The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has responded to the vote by English GPs to see the end of home visits in the GP contract. GPs voted by 54% to seek the change at the Local Medical Committees conference in London on 22nd November.
GPs voted for the move because of lack of capacity and belief that home visits could be carried out by other health professionals, including paramedics and physician associates. The QNI believes that the District Nursing service should not be overlooked in the debate about how to deliver healthcare for patients in their own homes.
Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive of the QNI commented:
‘There is a risk that District Nurses – highly skilled independent practitioners who liaise closely with GP colleagues – are being overlooked in the debate about GP home visits. The District Nursing service was created in order to treat people, often with complex and long-term conditions in their own homes and to provide end of life care where the majority of people would like to receive that care – and the need for this skilled nursing care is arguably greater than ever.
‘There are many reasons why people may be unable to go to a GP surgery or to a hospital appointment. If they are not mobile then a home visit is often the safest setting for the delivery of care to take place. It is also more cost effective, as the alternative is that families and carers will turn to ambulance call outs or attendance at an Emergency Department.
‘While changes in technology and advances in treatment mean that some care must be delivered in a clinical setting, there are also new opportunities for more advanced care to take place in the home. The need for greater investment in the district nursing workforce is clearly underlined in this recent vote by GPs in England.’
The QNI and RCN have also argued for more co-location of District Nurses and GPs, in order to achieve more integrated and efficient care for patients, in their recent Outstanding Models of District Nursing report (2019).
Notes to editors
The conference motion in full:
That conference believes that GPs no longer have the capacity to offer home visits and instructs the GPC England to:
i. remove the anachronism of home visits from core contract work – backed by 54% of delegates
ii. negotiate a separate acute service for urgent visits – backed by 74% of delegates
iii. demand any change in service is widely advertised to patients – backed by 90% of delegates
For more information visit: https://www.bma.org.uk/events/2019/november/lmc-england-conference