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Launch of Neighbourhood Nursing Pilot

Welsh Government have pledged £1.2m over two years towards the pilot of neighbourhood nursing principles which are loosely based on the principles adopted by Dutch Community Care Model, Buurtzorg.

The Buurtzorg model is a neighbourhood based system of district nursing care, with a focus on continuity of care delivered by a small team of nurses. The team will understand and know the community well, and have good relationships and informal networks within the local community, with GP’s, local authority partners, 3rd sector, allied health professionals and the local pharmacy.

Lesley Lewis, head of nursing primary care and localities, said: “I am delighted that Cwm Taf University Health Board was one of the areas chosen to pilot neighbourhood nursing utilizing the principles of Buurtzorg.  This is about creating a nursing model of care from the bottom up, cutting out bureaucracy and giving our district nurses more freedom and time with patients.

“Buurtzorg’s philosophy is to simplify: to simplify procedures, rules and communication, so as to focus on the best possible care for patients and we look forward to developing our services in partnership with our community in North Cynon during the next two years.

Buurtzorg is a very successful model of community nursing which has been proven to produce excellent patient outcomes, is very efficient and cost effective.  There are some challenges in replicating a European health model in the UK, although this presents huge opportunity in testing elements of the model within NHS Wales.

The valleys task force have identified that while the valleys has a high level of deprivation, their focus is to deliver integrated public services. Cwm Taf has a track record of developing community based services.

Three pilot sites across Wales will test neighbourhood nursing principles to understand the benefits to their populations:

  • Urban – Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
  • Rural – Powys Teaching Health Board
  • Valleys – Cwm Taf University Health Board

The health boards will work together to limit repetition and to maximise joint opportunities for learning and development. The three health boards have planned joint training opportunities and will communicate frequently to enhance learning and promote an All Wales approach.

Cwm Taf have considered the Buurtzorg principles and identified elements of the model that could be applied to our current district nursing service in order to enhance care delivery.  We are choosing to undertake this in the North Cynon cluster with two district nursing teams based in Hirwaun.  This will build on already strong working relationships within the cluster, further promoting partnership working with GP colleagues, local authority and the wider community teams.

The testing of elements of the successful Buurtzorg model of Community Care will provide a basis to inform and shape future models of neighbourhood nursing care.

Rhys Roberts, senior nurse district nursing, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our service in testing elements of a successful European model of care in Wales. District nursing services have increasing demands as care is being delivered closer to home and this pilot will allow us a unique opportunity to explore ways of meeting that demand through different ways of working. Our district nurses are embracing the challenge ahead and excited by the benefits this will bring.”

Chair of the health board, Marcus Longley, added: “The magic ingredient in the Buurtzorg model which makes me really excited is because at its heart, it’s about giving to our community nurses the control over the care they provide for their patients. It is about making them in touch with the communities that support people living in their homes and it is very much about the leadership being given to each and every member of the district nursing team to take forward the care of their patients.”