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Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Matrons shortfall hits patients

10th December 2007

Information released by the Healthcare Commission has shown that the government has failed to recruit 2,500 community matrons to care for people suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.


In 2004, the former Health Secretary John Reid released details of a plan to recruit 3,000 community matrons. Primary Care Trusts were then informed that only 2,500 matrons would be required as some patients could be seen by social workers.

However, the data revealed only 1,600 matrons had been found by the target date of March 2007, which meant that 60,000 patients did not get the personal care they should have received.

At present, 15 million people in England suffer from chronic conditions. These make up 80% of GP appointments and 60% of hospital bed days.

The recruitment of community matrons was aimed at giving people suffering from ongoing conditions one-to-one care and preventing hospital visits.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: "This is extremely disappointing. They are essential in keeping patients out of hospital and relieving the pressure on the NHS."

Dr Helena McKeown, chairman of the British Medical Association's community care committee, added: "Where they are in place they have been a big help to GPs like myself, but the problem is that there is not enough of them."

The Department of Health said the community matron plan had been "highly effective". It added that PCTs were responsible for ensuring that the targets were reached and that patients received "improvements to patient care".

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