The current staffing “crisis” among district nursing in Dundee is nothing new, one former employee has insisted.
Diane Parry said she took early retirement five years ago because of the stresses being placed on colleagues and claimed bosses should have taken action to remedy the problems before now.
Diane worked as a district nurse, predominately in Angus but with some spells in Dundee, for more than 20 years and thought of it as the “best job in the world” — until cuts began to take a toll on the team.
Eventually she had enough and quit at the age of 58.
She has spoken out now after The Courier revealed a staffing shortage had forced Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership (DHSCP) to take a number of measures such as calling off flu jabs during the first two weeks of October.
The moves were contained in an “escalation memo” distributed to staff, outlining a number of procedures which staff are advised not to carry out until the shortage has eased.
Diane said she had never seen such a document in her career, but she had witnessed first hand a depletion in staffing numbers towards the end.
She said: “The years before I decided to leave it was getting really bad so this crisis is not new. Someone in upper management should have seen this coming.
“I keep in touch with some of my colleagues and I know some of them are really struggling. It is such vital work so there should be more support for the people doing it.
“There are a few other people like me who have taken early retirement so I’m not alone in feeling this way,” she added.
“At the end of the day, it’s the patients who lose out the most. The nurses are doing the best they can, but with the best will in the world you can’t work miracles. They need more support.”
Diane said it was disheartening to watch her profession being stripped to the bone.
She added: “I always thought I had the best job in the world because you could truly help people, but once the resources thinned out it just became too stressful.
“I hope that some of the people that can take action will do something about it. The work is so vital. There are more complex things that can be done at home now that couldn’t be done 10 years ago.
“Sometimes keeping someone at home is the best thing for the patients, but that can’t happen if the resources to carry that out aren’t there.”
A DHSCP spokeswoman said: “People should be reassured that the flu vaccination programme is continuing as usual across Tayside. Those who receive their flu vaccination from the Dundee District Nursing team will receive it within the same timeframe as previous years.
“The District Nursing service in Dundee is currently experiencing capacity challenges due to a range of issues. There are plans in place to ensure continued safe delivery of services over this two-week period and this will not have a major impact on the longer term care and support to our communities.
“Workforce plans to build a district nursing service fit for the future needs of the Dundee population are being developed across the health and social care system.”