Out-of-hours nursing shortage put right
A shortage of out-of-hours nurses is being put right - but there are still concerns about staffing levels, a meeting heard yesterday.Norfolk County Council's health scrutiny committee was told that some patients were having to wait “unacceptably long” periods for a night-time nurse visit.
A shortage of out-of-hours nurses is being put right - but there are still concerns about staffing levels, a meeting heard yesterday.
Norfolk County Council's health scrutiny committee was told that some patients were having to wait “unacceptably long” periods for a night-time nurse visit. The out-of-hours nurse service is run by the East of England Ambulance Service and paid for by NHS Norfolk. It is designed to provide home visits for urgent issues like a dressing that needs changing or a blocked catheter.
The level of cover for central Norfolk - which goes as far as Swaffham, the north Norfolk coast, Thetford, Diss and nearly to Yarmouth - had been reduced from three nurse and driver teams to two. But on two nights this summer there has only been one.
Yesterday's meeting heard that more nurses had been recruited and there should now be three teams running.
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But Broadland district councillor John Bracey said: “I am concerned that three teams in central Norfolk seems a small number for such a large area.”
Talks are also under way to provide nursing cover in the three-hour gap between 7am and 8am and 5pm and 7pm, when there has been no provision for many years.
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South Norfolk district councillor and former GP Nigel Legg said it was “quite extraordinary” that it would be the end of the year before the gap was filled.
He said: “I am concerned about the inordinate delay in doing some of these things.”
Clive Rennie, assistant director of commissioning for NHS Norfolk, said: “There have been a number of conversations between the commissioning body and the provider about how the gap can be reconfigured. The timescale on that is realistically a number of months before we can get those people in place.”
Julie Derry, an on-call community nurse with the ambulance service, said she welcomed the extra staff but that she hoped they would be permanent rather than agency or bank staff, who could not offer the same continuity to patients or the extra level of medical knowledge.