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Nurse leader jobs may be at risk from top level NHS restructure


Senior nurse jobs could be among hundreds of posts axed, as part of a major restructure of the national commissioning body NHS England.

Nursing Times understands up to 800 jobs could go in the cost-cutting exercises that looks set to involve a re-organisation of the body’s 27 area teams, which cover local zones within four regions.

According to senior sources, officials have discussed the need to lose 500 to 800 posts in a bid to reduce running costs by 10-15% in 2015-16. However, the total reduction in jobs is likely to be towards the smaller end if cuts focus on senior staff, as expected.

NHS England would not comment on whether the cuts were likely to affect senior nurse roles or those working in the office of the chief nursing officer for England, which comes under the body’s remit.

However, it did not deny that changes were taking place and could affect nurses who number among the body’s 5,500 or so full-time equivalent staff.

“We are in the very early stages of this process, so it is not possible to provide further details,” said a spokesman.

Senior sources told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that there were likely to be reductions and extensive structural changes in the area teams where many NHS England employees work.

Such changes could include area teams outside London sharing directors across a number of teams – which would make the national structure more like that already operating in the capital.

While it is understood senior figures at NHS England are keen to avoid large numbers of redundancies, this may not be possible.

The cuts at NHS England follow the arrival in April this year of its new chief executive Simon Stevens and come little more than a year after the body became fully operational in April 2013.

News of the NHS England restructure follows the announcement last month of similar changes at Health Education England, which are designed to help cut costs there by 20%.

The proposals, which include slashing senior management within England’s 12 Local Education and Training Boards, have prompted fears vital nursing expertise could be lost.


Readers' comments (18)

  • Far too many chiefs and not enough Indians in the NHS receiving an indecent annual income .

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  • Couldnt agree more with the above comment!

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  • I believe they should be moved around to 'risk' shifts such as nights, weekends & senior cover bank holidays where incidents rise and management skeleton covering? that may indirectlry save monies.

    The impact cost of reducing career "mature' people could cost more than 15% for sure, its difficult to replace experience.

    There are easier but tougher calls by reducing sick pay from 6months full & 6 months half pay to a reduced coverage unless a hospital committee revews the application for extended leave based on scinario? many take sick as annual leave as in other industries and many really sick dedicated stack come back to early.. this could be worked with the Unions as a review panel per every case approaching 4 months? save you millions.

    the government should know that it is not just the bedside worker that creates the desire of safe healthcare? just saying

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  • I think that it is naive to believe that in an organisation as large as the NHS that senior regional staff are not vital to efficient running. However, these regional organisations are newly formed, phoenix rising from the ashes of the SHAs - the focus was on smaller more efficent organisaitons - but it was reported that many senior people took redundancy from SHAs only to be re-employed in the new organisations - which are now again looking at redundancy. Redundancy is a drain on NHS resources - what is going on? Is it a deliberate attempt to ruin the NHS - who is making these decisions???

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  • Don't we ever learn! All those nurse posts should be on the ground in Primary Care and hospitals NOT in meetings and Board rooms. We don't need endless managers to tell us what to do in caring for the patients, we need staff on the ground so that those of us there are not running around like headless chickens trying to meet targets and do the paperwork!!

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  • Nurse leaders have nothing to worry - or any other senior managers if England follows the example of Northern Ireland. When we have the review of public administration in the health service here - we got more managers instead of less!!!!!!!!!

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  • I feel that there should be a change in the structure of nursing. The senior sisters should be in direct ground control working amongst the nurses, and the junior sisters or nurses should be doing the paper work and answering emails with advice from the Senior Sisters. Other paper work could be done by Ward clerks. Extend the Ward clerks hours, as at the moment most Ward clerks work part time hours.

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  • All nurses should be at the bedside and in classrooms upgrading their nursing skills. Any clerk could do the rostering and all management tasks in wards etc. etc.
    Nurses need to protect their jobs i.e. their nursing jobs.
    Leave the paper shuffling to paper shufflers - they will always do it faster and better.
    Nurse skills are more important. Don't give your role away to non-nurses.

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  • So we have this catch 22 situation. We don't have enough grass roots nurses and midwives, we all know that. What do we do? Create a 'safer patient team' expand the governance team - who respond to increasing complaints and shut the stable door with yet more paperwork and dictates aimed to mitigate .... We have leads for leaning, leads for visual hospital to 'manage throughput' and the more 'leads' we create the more depleted grass roots becomes and 'care' becomes ever thinner on the ground. The NHS has lost its way. God help us all. We need to get back to caring and I agree get others to do the burgeoning paperwork created by people sitting behind desks, saying staff aren't what they used to be. Us older ones need to ask ourselves when we give our orders, could we do what we expect our new nurses and midwives to do? The user can see she/ he is ticking boxes rather than providing that which is core and at the heart of what used to be the caring professions; giving the patient attention and time. When are we going to say ENOUGH and fight back

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  • It's a funny thing but I agree with most of the contrasting comments above. Reflecting on my own career however I have to say I've influenced caring more the higher I've got. I can't be the only leader to have done that. When it comes to sickness and absence I've consistently seen less the higher I've been - and I haven't seen a single sick note with work stress and burnout on it wherever I've been - so take out major illness and trauma and yes, great idea, reduce sick pay for the rest.

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