Expert advice

Workforce: Alarming decline in district nurses driven by lack of funding 

The number of district nurses has fallen by almost 50% over the past seven years. With their skill set more in demand than ever as people are living longer with long-term conditions, this appears to fly in the face of logic, says workforce expert James Buchan

The number of district nurses has fallen by almost 50% over the past seven years. With their skill set more in demand than ever as people are living longer with long-term conditions, this appears to fly in the face of logic, says workforce expert James Buchan

The RCN grabbed headlines in 2016 by suggesting that district nurses, long a cornerstone of NHS care, were disappearing so fast that by 2025 they would ‘face extinction’.

Two years on and the prognosis remains grim. NHS England data show that the number of district nurses in England has been allowed to fall by almost 50% over the past seven years.

This appears to fly in the face of logic. Demand for the types of care delivered by district nurses is growing rapidly. An estimated 15 million people in the UK have a long-term condition,

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