Junior health minister Ann Keen said the Department of Health was developing the guidance for trusts ‘to ensure they can commission effectively and make best use of the skills of specialist nurses’.
Ms Keen emphasised that specialist nurses caring for people with long-term conditions were ‘vital’.
She said the DH was working closely with the charities associated with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, to develop the guidance.
Last week the RCN published figures revealing a bleak picture of vacancy freezes and the continued fear of redundancy among specialist nurses across the UK (NT News, 29 April, p3).
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘It beggars belief that, despite the NHS being on track to register a £1.8bn surplus, specialist nurses are continuing to be targeted in a bid to cut costs. The loss of just one of these highly trained experts will have a disproportionate impact on patients.’