The government’s new plans to deliver care to the millions of people suffering with long term-conditions were welcomed today (5 January) by the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA).
The CPHVA’s director, Mark Jones welcomed Health Secretary John Reid’s announcement as ‘a structured and robust approach to care management in primary care’.
Mark Jones said that he believed the proposals - which hinge on the recruitment of 3,000 community matrons by 2007 - was ‘a shot in the arm’ for district nursing’ whose potential has not been sufficiently recognised in recent years. ‘Their talents need to be harnessed and liberated,’ he said.
He believed that the role of community matron offered good career opportunities for district nurse team leaders and practice nurses who would not need much further professional development or training to take up these new posts.
He recognised that the Department of Health would have to concentrate on a recruitment programme aimed at re-energising the district nurse profession, but believed that this was possible if the spirit of the proposals was adopted wholeheartedly.
He said that the training for community matrons would need a nationally recognised set of competencies and that these could be implemented locally through education initiatives.
John Reid’s plan places the emphasis on community matrons whose role would be to give one-to-one support to the most vulnerable patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and arthritis. Community matrons would co-ordinate the required care and support for individual patients.
The CPHVA has already produced a blueprint for the future of district nursing: District Nursing at the crossroads – a CPHVA perspective.