The first analysis of local NHS plans to save huge amounts of money in the next four years, confirms there will be large cuts in jobs for hospital nurses.
Nursing Times has analysed the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) plans for more than 20 primary care trust areas.
Nurses will need to look at where their skills can best be placed
Together, the QIPP plans are supposed to help the NHS make the £15bn-£20bn efficiency savings the Department of Health estimates are needed by 2014.
The plans seen by Nursing Times show PCTs plan to make most of their savings by cutting the use of hospital care.
Of NHS Sheffield’s planned £43m savings between 2010 and 2014, for example, just under one fifth is from “urgent care for the over-75s”, to be achieved through less hospital emergency care.
The largest saving in plans in Manchester, where several PCTs are working together, is a programme for reducing referrals and “demand for hospital services”. That accounts for 11 per cent of a £231m intended saving with further savings planned to come from other areas of hospital care.
NHS Tameside and Glossop’s £29.5m savings plans for the current year include £4m from urgent care, another £4m from planned care - largely from reducing follow-up outpatient appointments - and £1m from reducing referrals for a set of procedures, such as varicose veins operations, which are thought often to be of little clinical value.
If these plans are implemented, hospital beds and services will be reduced and the number of jobs cut. There may be more posts outside hospitals, which nurses could be transferred to, but redundancies are also likely.
NHS North West chief nurse Jane Cummings, the QIPP lead for the region, confirmed the changes would mean fewer hospital nurses and some changes would not be “popular”.
She told Nursing Times: “Nurses will need to look at where their skills can best be placed. Doing what is right will mean in many cases looking after patients in a different environment.
Asked about hospital nurse post reductions, she said: “There will be some difficult decisions.”