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Recruitment drive for community nurses as health care goes Dutch in west Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 09:31 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:29 16 June 2017

The team of nurses will visit patients in their homes. Picture: MARK BOWDEN

The team of nurses will visit patients in their homes. Picture: MARK BOWDEN

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Health bosses in west Suffolk are looking to recruit their first ‘Buurtzorg’ team to test out a Dutch model which involves caring for patients in their homes.

Buurtzorg, which in English means ‘neighbourhood care’, advocates the use of small groups of self-managed and highly qualified nurses to work within a community.

The idea is being brought to life by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Suffolk Community Healthcare, West Suffolk NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk councils, with the support of the East of England Local Government Association.

Rowan Procter, executive chief nurse at West Suffolk Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for community nursing in west Suffolk.

“The Buurtzorg model has the potential to help us meet our ambition to keep people healthy and living independently for longer.

“We know many people would prefer to remain in their own familiar environment when unwell or managing a health condition and through this model we can help coach individuals and families to maintain their health and wellbeing.

“We are seeking community nurses to be a central part of testing this new way of working to explore how we can bring the benefits the Buurtzorg model has brought in the Netherlands to west Suffolk.”

Once employed, this team will be one of a handful in the country to explore the Buurtzorg model.

In the Netherlands it has led both to higher levels of satisfaction and significant reductions in the cost of care by providing early detection of problems, increasing quality of life, reducing longer term care needs and slicing hospital admissions.

It has received recognition for its nurse-led approach, and interest from the UK and beyond.

Dr Simon Arthur, a GP in Newmarket and Buurtzorg GP lead for West Suffolk CCG, said: “It is extremely pleasing to have reached this stage where we can now begin recruiting and get the Buurtzorg pilot up and running.

“For nurses and nursing assistants who are considering applying for the roles, I would urge them to do so. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a project that is ground-breaking and innovative and offers real opportunity to improve the west Suffolk healthcare landscape.”

This is one of a number of new initiatives being trialled in Suffolk to try and tackle some of the big challenges facing the NHS today.

Doctors’ surgeries have recruited a number of new ‘physician associates’ from America to help with the their workloads; as well as introducing ‘care navigators’ to screen patients over the phone before they are given an appointment.

Anyone interested should visit NHS Jobs, or speak to Sharon Basson, senior matron at West Suffolk Foundation Trust, by telephoning: 01284 713000. The closing date for these posts is June 21, 2017.

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