Bradshaw calls for urgent support for district nurses

Health Paula Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called for urgent support for district nursing, after Assembly questions revealed 117 vacancies across all Trusts amid vastly increasing casework.

The South Belfast MLA stated: “District nursing is often in fact the frontline of the health service, providing what is in effect an extension of primary care in the home, yet the number of vacancies across the service is causing huge strain on those who continue to be so dedicated to the profession.

“The pandemic has serious reinforced this strain, with increasing pressure being placed on care in the home, including that provided by district nurses, because of the requirement to keep people out of hospitals and GP surgeries as much as possible.

“As a result I know even from direct experience, district nurses are working long hours, often skipping lunch and going on well into the evening, to get through their increasing caseloads. This is testament to their incredible dedication, but is not a safe working environment.

“We must hear urgently from the Minister about detailed action to address emerging issues both during the rest of this pandemic and over the longer term. Otherwise the risk is, as has effectively happened in some other parts of the UK, we will lose this vital service altogether.”