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London trusts could cut 2,700 nursing posts, says report

Exclusive: London hospitals could be run with 2,700 less nurses if they were more efficient, confidential research obtained by Nursing Times claims.

As revealed earlier this month, details of cost saving predictions from an efficiency review by strategic health authority NHS London have concluded that £421m could be saved from London’s £1.27bn nursing bill.

New papers obtained by Nursing Times via freedom of information requests spell out for the first time the repercussions of the research in potential reductions in nurse posts.

The analysis carried out by the SHA last year on 18 hospital trusts concluded that 2,700 whole-time equivalent posts could be dropped if they operated at the same staffing levels as other, more efficient trusts in the capital.

This amounts to 9% of the trusts’ total 32,000 nursing workforce, the document states.

A report on the research attempted to justify the reductions by saying there was “no clear evidence that investment in simply increasing the number of nurses as the mechanism to increase the quality of nursing care is a guarantee of good patient care”.

It stated: “Other factors, such as ways of working, may be more important than resourcing levels and, whilst some individual clinical areas will undoubtedly require more resource (including increasing the numbers working in those areas), efficiency improvements will enable others to deliver improved quality with fewer staff.”

However, this contradicts previous analysis by Nursing Times showing the more registered nurses a trust employed per bed the fewer of its patients were likely to die or experience long hospital stays.

A study published last year by the New England Journal of Medicine also found mortality rates were significantly affected by nurse numbers on a ward.

An NHS London spokeswoman stressed the numbers did not represent a target or plan for reductions.

She said: “We have no plans that detail how the benchmarked productivity savings could be realised, as this was a task for individual trusts to complete as part of their own productivity programmes, taking into account their own circumstances and clinically-agreed savings plans.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Once again nurses are targeted. We not reduce top level management. I worked on a ward (now in the community) and staffing levels were low often staff stayed on did extra shifts to cover the ward, not always through choice. Tiredness could affect care, lack of resources ( all equipment costs) Cheaper alternatives are being bought when ever possible. More staff less management, and btw how much was wasted on this study????

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  • I hope the researchers were representative and working on the front line all the shifts for several months before producing their report. the last 'confidential' report obtained from NT was from the multi-million internation business advisory company McKinsey at tax payers expense in league with Lansley and his staff and families who were enjoying their very lavish hospitality such as luxury sojourns in New York, according to the British national press.

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  • Is it possible to publish the source of the research as evidence to this publication or where can we gain access to it? Why is it confidential research when it is meant for the public?
    I think it is better to let the public knows the source of this kind of information before publishing them out.
    Maryam Lawal

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  • they will deploy and employ more support workers.

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  • This truly is a perrenial administration subject, the fine art of getting an increased output by constantly decreasing the numbers of nurses...

    What tasks will administration turn their talents to when they have finally denuded all areas where patient care is delivered of Nursing Staff?



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