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Nurses at risk from job cuts 'bloodbath'

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Up to 350,000 nurses and other public sector workers could loose their jobs over the next five years, according a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The Institute’s chief economist John Philpott warned that the recession would bring a ‘bloodbath in public finances’ which would force employers to cut their workforce.

‘The public sector has yet to feel the full impact of the recession, and the resultant bloodbath in the public finances,’ he said.

‘The CIPD’s current estimate is that the fiscal squeeze implied by government plans will result in a total of 350,000 job cuts in the public sector overall between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

He said that the greater job security and relative generous pay and pensions packages enjoyed by nurses and other public sector workers would soon be a thing of the past.

The institute is also warning that there could be a dramatic increase in industrial action.

‘As a result the coming era of public sector austerity might not only witness large scale job cuts, but also an ongoing ‘workplace guerrilla war’ marked by waves of major public sector strikes and regular bouts of unrest,’ Mr Philpott said.

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  • 10 Comments

Readers' comments (10)

  • ‘As a result the coming era of public sector austerity might not only witness large scale job cuts, but also an ongoing ‘workplace guerrilla war’ marked by waves of major public sector strikes and regular bouts of unrest,’

    Is it any wonder the way we area treated? We are seriously understaffed already, and our overtime has been cut, the trust would rather give hours to bank staff!

    I know of 6 nurses, including myself who are looking for other positions, within and outside of the NHS. It's already started.

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  • Yesterday I was reading the NT about nurses possibly being asked to take on some of the jobs of junior doctors who are about to embark on a 48hour week. Obviously this will reduce the amount of time nurses have to fulfil their role. I was thinking of responding to the thoughts that arose in my head about employing more nurses and increasing our pay for these extra responsibilities, but decided not to. Today however I feel incensed. I despair of those who make decisions about the NHS. Someone better re-read Lord Darzi's report which talked of 'an NHS fit for the future' being safe, effective and offering quality care to the patient. This I can see will not now be possible. As a clinical nurse specialist and having been employed by the NHS for the best part of 35 years I would never consider my pay as 'generous' in relation to my experience and what I achieve every day. I could earn more as a supervisor in a supermarket. However I am sure that alot of my colleagues would agree that job cuts could be made in many of the managerial departments in our hospitals. So I suggest you look again at that side of the NHS rather than making ridiculous decisions about the real workforce of the NHS

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  • I totally agree with the two above comments, particularly as I am also a Clinical Nurse Specialist with 35 years well earnt experience. While I recognise that we need a management infrastructure to direct us, we also need a fully functioning, knowledgeable and alert nursing force in our hospitals. When management understands that it is the nurses who actually care for the patients 24/7 then they might start to give us the respect we deserve for the compassion, skills and knowledge that we have. When a patient is haemorrhaging we don't stand there and have several meetings to decide the best course of action....we get on with the job at hand! Nursing is a practical, hands-on job that uses the head, heart and hands simultaneously every moment of the working day. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water because if you do, you will have no PROFESSIONAL nurses to wash bottoms and do all of the hard graft - just an empty set of wards with many sets of paper patient care plans flapping in the wind! I expect to be paid well for the work that I do and for the time I have given multiply over the years to study AND working full-time at the same time - to offer top standard nursing care always.

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  • I totally agree with the two above comments, particularly as I am also a Clinical Nurse Specialist with 35 years well earnt experience. While I recognise that we need a management infrastructure to direct us, we also need a fully functioning, knowledgeable and alert nursing force in our hospitals. When management understands that it is the nurses who actually care for the patients 24/7 then they might start to give us the respect we deserve for the compassion, skills and knowledge that we have. When a patient is haemorrhaging we don't stand there and have several meetings to decide the best course of action....we get on with the job at hand! Nursing is a practical, hands-on job that uses the head, heart and hands simultaneously every moment of the working day. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water because if you do, you will have no PROFESSIONAL nurses to wash bottoms and do all of the hard graft - just an empty set of wards with many sets of paper patient care plans flapping in the wind! I expect to be paid well for the work that I do and for the time I have given multiply over the years to study AND working full-time at the same time - to offer top standard nursing care always.

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  • I totally agree with the above 3 comments. I too have been nursing for a long time, infact nearly 19 years, and we all have more skills and levels of responsibility than ever. Wards are already short staffed, more is demanded of us etc, etc. So who will be left in the future to carry out the high levels of patient care? The managers, maybe!!?

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  • I totally agree with the comments above. Could I make a suggestion?
    How about the NHS becomes a political party? Just a thought (fantasy!) but it gives me pleasure in moments when my NHS world appears to be run by complete numptys.

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  • I have to agree with all the preceeding comments. Why is it always 'nursing' jobs that are under threat? In both primary and secondary care nurses are already struggling to cope with an ever increasing workload.
    In primary care the number of managers and administrators seem to far outweigh the number of nurses, especially since there has been duplication of manager roles in both provider and commissioner branches!!!!! In addition these 'managers', some of whom are paid obscene amounts of money to do the job, then spend millions hiring 'consultancy firms' to do the job for them! And from personal experience reports from these consultations achieve very little as they are ignored; mainly because they only reiterate what the managers were told initially by nurses who do the actual job!!
    What has happened to the concept of 'patient' focused care delivery so hyped by recent government big guns? Nurses are a huge provider of that 'patient care' -surely to cut nursing jobs would seriously jeopardize this objective?
    I would be very interested to know how many more managers there are now in the NHS than in 1997 when Labour came to power with their promise to cut down on bureaucracy in the NHS. Maybe Nursing Times could make this their next fact finding project.

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  • Michael Sandiford

    I agree with the above comment! There are far far to many managers within the NHS. Nurses can, and are trained to manage staff and departments, but a manager would not be able to administer patient care on any level.

    While in my previous job, the trust spent a cool million I believe, employing an external management team to examine the work load of the district nursing and health visiting teams. The results of which were pretty much ignored, probably as it confirmed that the teams were grossly understaffed!

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  • Dear Sir ,
    I don't think we should get rid of any nurses .I think we should sack people like John Philpot that are allowed to make these comments in the first place .It seems to me that global capitalism clearly fails to benefit most of the people and just lines the pockets of a rich minority which should be spent on the majority and the poor and sick .Time for a revolution to redistribute resources and time to get rid of people who undermine public services .

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  • The reason nurses are overlooked time and time again is because WE DO NOT MEKE OURSELVES HEARD! Time and time again, extra responsiblity is placed upon our shoulders, we grudingly accept it, nothing more is said, it becomes easier to demand more and more from us, without financial benefit. This isn't to say that money should be our only motivation, ofcourse not, but when you work for a trust that is happy to leave one qualified nurse with 24 patients for 10 hours, you see that managers aren't concerned with nurses, patient safety, or what we do at all. Unfortunately this will never change, as a profession we are weak. Nurse strikes are virtually unheard of. But what will it take to secure a safe service for the future. I don't see any of it surviving my life time, and that we can't lie comepletely on the shoulders of others.

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