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RCN warns of 12% cut to qualified nursing workforce

Trusts plan to shed a “shocking” 12% of their registered nursing workforce over the next four years, a Royal College of Nursing investigation has found.

In a report published this week to coincide with the college’s annual congress, the RCN warns it has evidence that nearly 10,000 NHS posts in England will be axed by 2015.

The college said this represents just the “tip of the iceberg”, as managers seek to save £20bn from the health service budget.

It carried out a Freedom of Information Act request across a sample of 21 trusts, finding that they planned to cut a total of 9,650 posts, of which 4,429 were nursing positions – both qualified and unqualified. 

On average, 12% of qualified nursing posts will be lost from the trusts’ nursing workforce, the report says.

The RCN requested information from a range of organisations, including acute trusts, mental health trusts and community providers, from across the country – though a third were located in London.

The report is an update of the Frontline First Interim Report, which was published in November to support the college’s campaign of the same name.

The initial document – based on workforce reduction figures available at the time – claimed to have identified 26,841 NHS posts at risk in the UK, of which 17,932 were in England.

In the last few months, the RCN said some NHS trusts have started to provide specific and detailed breakdowns of cuts to their workforce numbers – and it is on these that the updated figures are based.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Cutting thousands of frontline doctors and nurses could have a catastrophic impact on patient safety and care. Our figures expose the myth that frontline staff and services are protected.”

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Readers' comments (14)

  • I think this is terrible, currently the NHS is more focussed on making cuts and saving money than it is on direct patient care. Nurses are already exceptionally busy and overworked, but play a vital role in patient care. This wont end well.

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  • Idiots. Who will they blame when patient mortality skyrockets?

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  • tory conmen "we will protect the nhs"
    what a load of bull****

    people will die as a result of these idiots
    and they are still pressing ahead with the change at a cost of 3 billion

    the quicker this govt, who were never voted in, go the better

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  • hey i got an idea how about we get rid of all the nurses and let management work on the wards/community

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  • Well I'm one of those in posts that are being cut I have been 'displaced' by my trust as in my team they have cut the amount of band 6CPN's in half I think I might be one of the lucky ones as I feel sorry for my colleauges having to do the same amount of work with half the amount of staff. How are they going to cope the patients are already feeling unsupported and angry at the developing situation. I'm sure it wont be long before the SUI's increase rapidly

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  • Well i have gone through ther process of redundency and know that it is propably very hard for those left behind but i now feel so sorry for patients.

    I am now enjoyinh redundency i pick up a little work to pay the bills only working 7 days a month is very nice.

    I do hope the managers will be able to multitask push papers and sort patients out but hey if needed they will get someone in to do a time and motion study!!!!

    NHS RIP and please could the unions have a redundency counsiling line as more and more of us are going to need it.

    Heres a throught with all this redundency payment the NHS and Trusts will go bust even quicker!!!!!!!!!

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  • In a year or two there won't be enough registered nurses, and anyone thinking of training will be thinking the better of it. The government will be on their knees begging those who were laid off to come back!! I hope I remain well during my life because there won't be many registered nurses left to help me if I'm not!

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  • Will the last one out please turn out the light.

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  • i agree with the above comment!

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  • the nhs is finished thanks to this govt they have only been in power less than a year and thousands of nurses are loosing their jobs

    hang your heads in shame everyone who voted in these idiots

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  • I agree with the above comment. The NHS is finished( by a government who as said couldn't even get voted in properly!!). Even though the pay has been bad, lack of training at various times, have done unpaid hours, and I could go on I have stood by the NHS and at least I've thought have probably still got a job (that despite everything I do love). But my job/ band is probably not safe anymore. Nevermind though, there are plenty of managers, accountants, PA's etc to care for the poor patients!

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  • Accepting this is not a true nation-wide view of the currect situation. However, there will be enough nurses over 55 that will take advantage of the current offers, be it retirement or redundency or both and 'good luck to them'. I hope they have a long, healthy and prosperous life.

    But, on the other hand, that will reduce the number of staff they (the Tories) are looking for....and having said that, they will then get the blame for the state of the NHS, not the Tories, and let them off the hook, mark my words.

    Who will look after them, having given so many dedicated years to the NHS, we will see. Yet another plan to reduce the stress on the NHS....and let them die (there must be some bad habits in there to blame for there demise too)!

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  • The NHS is heading for privatisation. Nursing jobs are going, and now the GP's are being told to reduce hospital referrals by 5% and ensure that patients have a full work up to referral, but at the same time to reduce physio etc referrals by the same 5%.

    Of course it is well known that GP's refer patients to hospital just for the fun of it....

    In tough economic times more people become unwell but, given this is an economic crisis, the first cuts are being made in the health service. You couldn't make this up.

    As nurses we often fail to stick together but as many above have stated, the time for working extra hours and propping up the system have passed.
    At the end of the day our first responsibility is to ourselves and our families and then to our patients. If staff stress levels and sick levels increase then neither our patients, our families, or ourselves will benefit.

    I wonder how many stressed burned out members of staff record complaints against their employers who have failed in their duty of care to their staff?

    If we cannot look after ourselves how can we look after our patients?

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  • tinkerbell

    please get on the 38 degreee website and challenge this sad state of affairs. Lets get the message out there to the general public who seem totally oblivious to whats going on. How can they know if they are not informed? It is only staff working in the NHS who have been affected that know. Lets do something to change this situation if we can and take action.

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