Nurses working in primary and community care settings in England: Problems and challenges in identifying numbers

Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
Journal of Nursing Management (Impact Factor: 1.5). 12/2007; 15(8):847-52. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2934.2007.00746.x
Source: PubMed


Background One third of the primary care nursing workforce is aged 50 years and over. Workforce planning is essential if primary care is to ensure that there are appropriate numbers of nurses available to replace the loss of experienced nurses as they approach retirement.
Introduction As part of an ongoing study to explore the factors influencing retention of female nurses over the age of 50 years in the primary care nursing workforce, a questionnaire survey targeting all community nurses employed in five Primary Care Trusts was undertaken. Accurate statistics on the number and type of community nurse employed in the five Primary Care Trusts were sought to: (i) identify a denominator to accurately identify the response rates to questionnaires in the survey of Primary Care Trusts; and (ii) to compare the Primary Care Trust data with Department of Health statistics to investigate the accuracy of workforce data. A number of problems with locating accurate primary care nursing workforce statistics were identified.
Aim The purpose of this paper is to highlight the difficulties inherent in collating workforce data and the implications for future workforce planning, both locally and nationally. The impact on research is also highlighted.
Key issues
Conclusions Effective delivery of the NHS Plan requires a thorough understanding of the composition of the primary care nursing workforce and targets need to be based on accurate and reliable workforce statistics.

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