Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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Workforce survey

District nurses along with health visitors and school nurses have a higher age profile of any other nursing group,
a workforce survey has revealed.
The survey of 287,000 NHS staff from 50 NHS and Primary Care Trusts in London during 2002 by the Institute of Employment Studies
found that large numbers of district nurses are set to retire in the next few years. One third of district nurses are aged 50 or over and 39 per cent are aged 40 to 49.
This has implications for future workforce planning, recruitment and service delivery and raises questions about the
attractiveness of public sector work to younger people, comment the survey’s authors.
The survey also found that district nurses have higher rates of caring responsibilities than other nursing groups -
42 per cent of district nurses have children at home and 15 per cent have caring responsibilities for an adult.
The district nursing workforce in London is only six per cent male and it has lower levels of minority ethnic staff
(only one in four compared to one in three for hospital nurses and midwives.)
District nurses are also more likely to stay in their jobs – 45 per cent have over ten years service
and their average length of service is 9.9 years, the longest of any staff group.
District nurses are the most enthusiastic nursing group about the satisfaction they get from their work and their colleagues.
They are also positive about their training and development although they are one of the groups that are most dissatisfied with their pay.
They feel least positively about family-friendly policies.
Four out of five have experienced harassment or violence at work, predominantly from patients and their relatives.
Healthy Attitudes: Quality of Working Life in the London NHS 200-2002’
by Sarah Perryman and Dilys Robinson is available from the Institute of Employment Studies.
Tel. 01273 686751

Employment Studies