Year of the Nurse and Midwife

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

That’s why the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated 2020 as the first Global Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In parts of the world nurses can be the first and only point of care in their communities. WHO says that we need nine million more nurses and midwives globally to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.

This demand is not just in developing countries as a recent report on health and care in the EU has shown.

The report contains much good news for the UK but we do have a shortage of doctors and nurses.

In Bolton we have been trying for quite some time to increase our workforce and change how they work.

An example of this is our advanced nurse practitioners who are based in GP practices. They are often the first point of contact for patients, providing diagnosis and treatment for many ailments.

The response from the public to our advanced nurse practitioners is improving all the time. They have become very much part of our GP practice teams and I want the same thing to happen with our mental health practitioners, pharmacists and musculoskeletal practitioners who help with your muscle, bone and joint problems

NHS England will be promoting the diverse range of nursing and midwifery careers during the 2020 celebrations and the different backgrounds these professionals come from.

It’s a chance to thank them for their work – and I want to add my voice to those thanks.

Nursing has come a long way since the Lady with the Lamp tended wounded soldiers during the Crimean War but one thing is unchanged: the vital role that nurses and midwives play in our health services.

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