The number of district nurses in Wales has fallen by 42% since 2009, putting GP surgeries and emergency departments under strain.
The figures, released by Welsh Government, reveal that the number of district nurses in Wales has fallen from 712 in 2009, to 412 last year.
District Nurses are senior, experienced staff – often considered to be the equivalent to GPs in the nursing environment – and the new figures have led to concerns that staffing resources are struggling to cope with the shift towards care in the community.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health, Angela Burns, said:
“These figures highlight a significant problem in the Welsh NHS, which is putting GP surgeries and emergency departments under severe strain.
“The concern is that patients being cared for at home could be placed at risk, with caseloads for District Nurses having spiralled in recent years.
“Whilst we support efforts to look after more people in their own homes, the Welsh Government does need to ensure that staffing resources can cope with this shift in demand.”