Scottish community nursing ‘faces staffing crisis’

Community nursing in Scotland could face a staffing crisis in the next decade unless action is taken now, according to a report released on Wednesday.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, this sector of the profession provides a crucial service and is calling for the Scottish Government to take on board its recommendations.

Around 30 percent of community nurses are expected to retire in the next ten years, at a time when demand for the service is increasing.

In the report, the professional nursing body is suggesting a framework which outlines the changes it would like to see implemented.

For example, the RCN is suggesting community nursing should be split into two sectors: one focusing on children, young people and families and the other focusing on the needs of adults.

It is also calling on health services to provide both mental and physical care and to be designed round the individual.

Theresa Fyffe, Director of RCN Scotland, said: “Given that we have 10 years before 30 percent of the profession is due to retire, we realistically have five to seven years to re-invigorate the community nursing workforce in Scotland.

“Now is the time for community nurses across Scotland to find the common ground, and the reserves of energy, needed to reclaim our profession and build sustainably for the future.

“We are not suggesting a ‘quick fix’ that can be summarised in a simple diagram or implemented overnight. RCN Scotland is leading the way in coming up with a solution-focused approach.”

Evelyn Ryan, a district nurse team leader in Lanarkshire, said: “With the move to caring for more people closer to home, rather than in hospital, it is a very exciting time to be a community nurse.

“There are major opportunities to deliver more holistic patient care, with nurses working jointly in the community with other health and social work professionals.