When our elected representatives want to play politics with the health service – something we saw more than a little of during the general election campaign – they throw unfettered praise upon the dedicated and undoubtedly “hard-working” men and women of the NHS. We saw it yet again in the Christmas messages of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn; both men chose to praise the doctors, nurses and other public servants who eschew festivities with their own loved ones to dedicate their time to the service of others.

It seems, for the prime minister at least, that those sentiments are rather easier to say than to act upon. Nursing may be among the most respected professions – for many, it may be better described as a calling – but it is also ranked among the least well-funded. But current funding arrangements are not sustaining the important, and broad, role that nurses working in the community play in supporting the wider health service by keeping patients out of hospital corridors.

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