Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am pleased to announce today that the University of South Wales is publishing its review into the three Neighbourhood District Nursing Pilots.
The two-year Welsh Government funded pilots commenced in April 2018. This report demonstrates the learning from the prototype Neighbourhood District Nursing Teams and how they fit within the Welsh strategic and policy direction set out in 'A Healthier Wales'.
In March 2019 the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee held a one day inquiry into community and district nursing. On the 21 August the Committee published a report on that inquiry and on 20 September 2019 I accepted nine of the ten recommendations made.
Two of the recommendations related to the Neighbourhood District Nursing Pilots. The first was if the pilots’ evaluation were positive, the learning should be rolled out nationally. The second recommended that if caseload e-scheduling systems being tested as part of the pilots evaluated well, it too should be rolled out nationally.
To support the national roll out of learning from the pilots, I have decided to appoint a National Nursing Lead for Primary & Community Care as part of the Strategic Programme for Primary Care. I can confirm that this post will commence at the end of November 2020.
I have also decided that health boards that were not part of the initial pilots will receive funding to commence work to take forward a national approach to caseload e-scheduling. The National Welsh Shared Services Partnership will lead on developing an all-Wales contract. This will maximise the benefits of national procurement of these systems.
In 2017 I increased the district nursing two-year part time training places from 41 placements per year to 80 placements per year and we have maintained these commissioning numbers. We planned to train an additional 80 District Nurses. With the significant increase in training numbers to 160 District Nursing students in training at any one time, the release of additional staff by organisations has been difficult. Up to September 2020 it has only been possible to train an additional 57 district nurses above the commissioned numbers. With the pressure on services over this winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant challenge to community services in the release of staff to meet the commissioned numbers, I have decided it would not be prudent to progress the remaining 23 additional district nurses at this time. We do however remain committed to district nurse training.
I have asked the Chief Nursing Officer to monitor progress and will provide further updates in the future. The links to the report are below.
In conclusion I would like to take this opportunity to thank our district nurses and staff who support them who ensured that services remained fully operational over the pandemic. Our staff have worked together to deliver nursing care to people in their own homes in the most challenging circumstances. This has of course required significant use of personal protective equipment to maintain patients’ safety. Our district nursing teams are just some of our unseen heroes who have continued to care for us throughout this extraordinary time. Diolch yn fawr iawn.