• Serious concerns raised over quality of HEE report into community nursing 
  • Concerns include future funding for specialist district nursing qualification
  • HEE says it “continues to support” qualification

Serious concerns were raised internally over the quality of work feeding into a much-anticipated report on community nursing by Health Education England, HSJ understands.

In early 2018, HEE launched a review of community nurse training. This followed the publication of its 2017 workforce plan, which called for a “more flexible community workforce”.

To assist with its review, HEE set up a steering group, which consisted of members from NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Royal College of Nursing, the Council of Deans, the Queen’s Nursing Institute, and provider trust representatives.

But well-placed senior sources told HSJ members of the steering group had serious concerns over drafts of the report, which is yet to be published.

One, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claimed the work was based on “anecdote” and “conversations with current nurses and trainees”. It is understood there were also concerns about a perceived lack of support for a specialist district nursing qualification.

The sources said HEE had intended to publish the report in January but was persuaded not to. However, HEE said it was never intended to be published in January.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, chief nurse at HEE, said: “We have been engaging with a wide range of partners for nearly a year to develop the best possible future for the adult community nursing workforce and that will now need to meet the requirements of the NHS long-term plan….

“HEE continues to support the district nursing specialist qualification, as it has done for many years, and future investment will be addressed as part of the next comprehensive spending review.”

Matthew Winn, chair of NHS Provider and NHS Confed’s community trust network, said: “Our members are quite clear that they need the funding and educational support to develop district nurses, using the specialist practice qualification, going forward.

“There are additionally specialist roles, such as diabetes or heart failure nurses, that would benefit from using the advanced clinical practitioner framework for their training.

“We therefore expect the review to move rapidly to this conclusion and be clear how both these important nursing training routes are supported and sustained into the future.”