Wales

Home-visit nurses stressed and overworked, report finds

District nurse Sian Lewis with Tom James

Community nurses are quitting the profession because of stress and increased workloads, a report has said.

They are employed to deliver care in patients' homes but some have claimed they still rely on paper-based systems and outdated technology.

Staff morale was also said to be low and some feel it is an "invisible service".

The assembly's health, social care and sport committee has called on the Welsh Government to invest in the service.

Community nurses help patients manage their health, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, enable early discharge and help maintain independence.

AMs heard half of the community nurses who responded to the committee said they had no access to a work mobile and many of those that did had no access to office calendar or e-mails.

"We need to make sure that staffing levels are right, that nurses are provided with the mobile technology they need to do their jobs effectively and that community nursing is seen as an attractive career," committee chairman Dai Lloyd said.

"Community nursing is a key part of the future of the NHS in Wales and we are calling on the Welsh Government to listen to what frontline nurses are telling us."

He added AMs were "concerned" to hear about low morale.

The committee made 10 recommendations including increased training, promotion of the role as a career option and improved technology.

'Not valued'

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales welcomed the recommendations.

But Christine Thomas, who represents nurses at RCN in Wales, said: "It's not the job it used to be. Nurses are very pressured and they feel they can't give holistic care.

"What concerns me is it's not attractive to new recruits. I don't feel it's valued. There's not the training, there's not the ongoing professional development for them."

She added talks about improving technology had been going on "for several years".

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We will consider the inquiry report and its recommendations and provide a response to the committee at the end of September."

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