Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Black Hole devours nurses

I've earlier written about the death of an NHS Walk-In Centre, I'm now watch the terminal stages of this process in one location. It's nothing new I've seen it before and I'm sure the remaining Walk-In Centres will suffer a similar fate.

This is a direct consequence of Andrew Lansley's misguided leadership of the NHS. Abolition of the Primary Care Trusts have left Primary Care Walk-In Centres without any real sponsors. The General Practitioners (GPs), who now hold the purse strings in advance of actual parliamentary approval, will not save the Walk-In Centres because it disturbs their Edwardian business model of private practice partnerships.

No, the WIC I'm watching has been handed over to the black hole of a local A&E department of an Acute Trust Hospital. The once highly efficient team of Primary Care Nurses is being torn apart. This is a team which has worked for 10 years, rarely breaching patient time waiting targets and almost zero serious patient complaints. Nurses who were trained to work as autonomous practitioners who are qualified and able to assess medical conditions and to prescribe treatment. Their clinical leader has been elbowed away and replaced by an A&E nurse manager who has no experience of Primary Care medicine. The remaining Primary Care nurses are looking for new jobs having been told they are "not competent" by someone who has no experience in their skills. The GPs who once worked as part of the team are refusing to work with the new management. Within a few months little trace will be left of what was once a strong team.  

One remaining question  is what happens to the funds assigned to the WIC Nursing team? Does it get buried in the A&E hoard? What happens to the (average) 200 people who used to go to the Walk-In Centre? Their needs don't go away.

Update May 2012:
The Matron of the A & E Dept which absorbed the WIC has resigned. She's tired of the bullying from senior managers and clinicians, meanwhile the Matron of the now closed WIC is in the final stages of redundancy. It all seems a silly waste of resource to me.