The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has issued the following response to the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January.

The QNI welcomes this strategic and long-sighted vision for the future of the NHS in England over the next ten years.

In particular we welcome the acknowledgement that additional ring-fenced investment is needed in community and primary care services, which together account for around 90% of the one-million-plus patient contacts that the NHS achieves every day. It is in the community and primary care that self-management, health promotion and illness prevention are all centred. Here also is the key to managing rising long term demand, reducing health inequalities, and delivering care that is at once integrated and personalised, as described in the new plan.

The significant challenge in delivering the Long Term Plan will be building up the workforce to achieve its diverse ambitions. Health Education England’s workforce plan, to be published later in the year, must draw on the informed views and experiences of nurses and stakeholder organisations, and also the patients, families, carers and communities that they serve.

Importantly, there needs to be a focus on understanding if the places for pre-registration undergraduate nurse programmes are truly oversubscribed with suitable candidates, as there is some concern that this may not reflect the reality of the 2018 intakes in every part of the country.

The potential of new technology, in support of new ways of working is exciting, but we should also acknowledge its limits. The QNI has championed the value of new information and communication technology in recent years – it can unlock efficiency gains, staff productivity and improved personalisation of care. This will be of growing importance to community nurses and their patients in years to come.

We look forward to working with NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Health Education England to help refine and deliver these plans as they apply to the community and primary care nursing workforce, for the benefit of patients, carers and families everywhere.

Reference: Nursing in the Digital Age, QNI 2018. https://www.qni.org.uk/resources/nursing-in-the-digital-age/

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