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Scottish care in the community for shake-up

24th July 2006

Community nurses in Scotland may become a thing of the past.

New proposals to merge the roles of district nurse and health visitor into one 'community health' job have raised concerns that skills will be diluted.

It is thought that 9,000 nurses will be affected by the plans, which are at draft report stage. They have been released following a review commissioned by the health minister Andy Kerr into Scotland's community health sector.

The biggest concern for nursing representatives is that specialist nursing skills will be lost amid the necessity to become general advisers.

Gavin Fergie from the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association has said that the plans would be like asking a chemistry teacher to teach French.

"We doubt the ability of these proposed community nurses to cover the full clinical range found in community nursing. Thousands of Scottish families won't necessarily get the nursing specialist they need for a particular problem," he said.

And Anne Thomson of the Royal College of Nursing added: "We would clearly have concerns about such a radical change."

However, a spokesman for the Scottish Executive told the Herald newspaper that the needs of the public were the review's primary concern and that final proposals for the shake-up would take all the concerns now raised into account.