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NHS chief exec admits concern at specialist nurse cuts


The head of the NHS has hinted that specialist nurse posts will have greater protection in future from cost cutting measures.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has admitted to MPs that his “real worry” was that managers were taking “short term measures to reduce costs”, which would have “long term consequences” for care.

Sir David was giving evidence to a Commons public accounts committee hearing this week on diabetes healthcare in England.

Fiona Mactaggart, Labour MP for Slough, asked Sir David what he was doing to protect diabetes specialist nurses posts from being “decommissioned or left vacant”.

Sir David said: “It is undoubtedly an issue for us as we get into a more tightened financial place, that people take short term decisions that have a long term [consequences].”

He suggested future guidance from the new NHS Commissioning Board, of which he is also chief executive, would advise clinical commissioning groups not to cut spending on specialist posts and that the board would monitor the situation.

“In terms of the planning guidance we set out, we’re going to specifically look at these sorts of issues,” he said.

“[Managers will have to] prove to us they are not making these short term decisions which have a long term consequence. We’re going to go through the planning process to assure ourselves they are not doing this.

“Our real worry generally across the NHS is that people take short term measures to reduce costs,” he told the committee.


Readers' comments (12)

  • Tiger Girl

    'NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson admitted to MPs last week that his “real worry” was that managers were taking “short term measures to reduce costs”, which would have “long term consequences” for care.'

    What a surprise - whoever would have predicted, that such a thing might happen ?!

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  • maybe here is somebody at last who has his head screwed on the right way? but why didn't he speak up before?

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  • tinkerbell

    hinted mind, hinted. Such strong language. Hope they got the message.

    I've got a few hints too, second word ends in 'off'.

    Start telling it likes it is instead of all this pussy footing about. I can't stand the bullshit any longer.

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  • Managers managers managers - when are we to see cuts in managers in the NHS. Every restructure seems to bring more, make one in charge of several departments and then introduce a load of new jobs in those departments to help the manager as they know nothing of the departments they are in charge of, if we had 6 managers for 6 departments now we have 1 manager and 6 deputy managers - that must cost more and that is without taking into account the money wasted in poor decisions taken by a manager who doesn't know what they are doing. There seems to be no shame in bringing in a change despite protest only to do an about face when the protests prove to be valid concerns and not just resistance to change for its own sake.

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  • grumpy

    Cut the number of managers!!! Shock horror! It will never happen.
    Unfortunately managers make the decisions about who to cut and they will look after themselves.
    I remember many years ago in nursing school a manager came to talk to us. Someone asked him why many of the reserved car parking spaces were for management, none for senior nurses.
    The smug reply - 'because we decide who gets them'.
    That attitude has never changed.

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  • King Vulture

    tinkerbell | 15-Jun-2012 4:49 pm

    'I've got a few hints too, second word ends in 'off'.'

    Tinkerbell, you seemed such a nice, moderate-language, type of person when I first read your posts.

    Now, you seem to be - what is the phrase I'm searching for - Mad as a Box of Frogs.

    And, with perfectly good reason to be so !

    While managers are working to a different agenda, and covering their own backs (as all groups of people tend to), it is almost totally pointless to have 'woolly aspirational guidance' ripe for avoidance and subversion, sent out 'from above' in the hope of changing things for the better.

    I don't know what the answer is - but the problem is easy enough to see.

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  • tinkerbell

    King Vulture | 16-Jun-2012 12:20 pm

    yes, something strange happened to me on or about 12 May 2010 and the situation progessively worsened at a rapid pace.

    Before that i was quite placid, minding my own business, believing our nurses/doctors were valued as a professional body.

    Who'd have thought it would come to this?

    I have loved my nursing career. I feel very sorry for new nurses coming into the profession as it is being ripped to shreds on all fronts. So what if we get a half decent pension, we work hard for the money and our bodies are mostly wrecked at the end of our careers. We are lucky to come away with our minds still intact.

    Sometimes swearing is my only safeguard/coping mechanism from needing to be physically restrained when i see it all(OUR NHS), our healthcare profession, being so historically destroyed by a bunch of millionaires who have no other interest than making loadsamoney out of other peoples misery.

    Anyway at the risk of repeating myself.

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  • No surprises here. The axe is only just getting ready to swing and has culled a few specialist nurse posts before it comes down deep and hard.

    Until I have evidence to the contrary this is about targeting those with the least resistance.

    Lansley keeps talking about patient choice. No decision about me without me. Anyone seen patients canvassing for the culling of their CNS's? Another soundbite without substance.

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  • Anonymous

    Andrew Fishburn | 16-Jun-2012 10:55 pm

    'Anyone seen patients canvassing for the culling of their CNS's?'

    Not me - but has anybody explained to the public, that their CNSs are being culled ? The public will not complain about things they are unaware of - whose job is it to tell them ?

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  • I'm a bit dim...@12.29pm

    Fantastic question! Whose job IS it to tell them? There is some evidence that social media can be a very powerful tool when harnessed in the right way, but it seems to me from the Leverson enquiry that gvts are very skilled at controlling the media.

    Until nursing learns to become more political the senior nursing posts will be easy targets.

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