Sue Thomas - Primary Care and Independent Sector Adviser
Community nurses, midwives and health visitors serve the population of more than 3 million people in Wales. They meet the health and nursing needs of all age groups and in all locations outside hospital environments such as at home, schools, surgeries, clinics and care homes. They are central to the Government’s aim to reduce the number of unnecessary admissions to hospital and increase early discharges from hospital. People needing community-based support can be sicker or have more complex needs than ever before.
This focus on community-based services has resulted in a changing picture of contemporary community nursing, midwifery and health visiting. For example, practice nurses contribute hugely to an increased public health and clinical workload in GP surgeries, including vaccinations, screening, minor illness, chronic conditions management and much more. Health visitors support families from all backgrounds and circumstances to achieve safe health and well-being. District nurses provide more complex care to people in the home than traditionally, balancing physical needs with social and family circumstances; whilst community children’s nurses achieve similar goals for those less than 18 years of age. School nurses provide an essential service to school age children, often being the single point of contact for young people to engage with about their health or development concerns.
Many other nurses also provide community-based care and this regular column will provide an updated report of what is happening in the changing world of community nursing.
The Royal College of Nursing in Wales supports nursing in all areas of the health service and independent sector. Two designated professional advisers are available to answer queries and provide advice to RCN members and others about community and independent sector nursing.