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Community Health Shake-up Spells Trouble for Nurses

A major shake-up of community health care could cause a change in the role of district nurses.//

Proposals have been made to merge the roles of community health professionals such as health visitors and district nurses into one community health job. This could affect about 9,000 nurses across Scotland.

These were the plans that were outlined in a draft report following a major review of the community health sector for the health minister, Andy Kerr.

However nurses' representatives fear that these plans could lead to a dilution of professional skills. According to Gavin Fergie, professional officer of the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, it would be like asking a chemistry teacher to teach French.

Anne Thomson, acting deputy director of the Royal College of Nursing, added: "We would clearly have concerns about such a radical change."

Mr Kerr is expected to discuss the draft report with health chiefs.

The report has suggested that the review was an opportunity to "look at the whole set-up. The new service model should absorb the elements of public health nursing, district nursing and family health nursing.

Mr Kerr said, "The elements common to each of these disciplines will be assumed by a new core community nursing discipline called community health nursing."


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