Hospital nurses are prepared to move into community jobs but trusts need to work together to retrain them and arrange the transfers, Unison has said.
Unions have opposed suggestions nurses should be made redundant as a result of government spending cuts.
But Unison senior national officer Mike Jackson said hospital nurses would understand their jobs had to change if more care is to be provided in the community, instead of hospital – one of the main proposals to cut costs.
Mr Jackson told Nursing Times: “Most people don’t want to give up their jobs but I think there are real opportunities if people are imaginative.
“A nurse working on an acute ward will know that over the next decade there are going to be fewer beds.”
“There’s going to be greater care in community settings and young nurses will be thinking, ‘Where is my job going to be?’
“They will be quite receptive to the idea that they over time they can receive training to adapt their skills and, when opportunities occur, can transfer.”
He said strategic health authorities were beginning to coordinate how training and transfers would be paid for and arranged. They are considering creating “clearing house” style arrangements where trusts can say whether and which staff they need to lose or gain.
He said: “There would have been a breach of contract if they had decided not to pay that. We have offered our branches that [advice] but we have not threatened foundation trusts.”
Unison believes trusts are now agreed on paying the uplift from April.