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.