Nurses are often the currency by which costs, particularly in hospital trusts, are measured.
If a hospital puts up a new piece of art, people often talk about how much it costs in terms of nursing salaries. “That could have bought 15 nurses,” I’ve heard people say. It just goes to show that despite all the negative press and wagging fingers that have been directed at nurses, when it comes down to it, the public and the media still value nurses and know that if you have more of them, quality of care is improved.
Let’s hold onto that notion forever, because it demonstrates how much support the public will show the profession.
Nurses are some of the best people at finding cost-effective solutions in organisations. Call it experience, pragmatism, efficiency or just tenacity, but if you want a job done, you can usually rely on a nurse to do it and do it well, and within budget.
That’s why a new campaign, joining up the combined forces of the Royal College of Nursing, the chief nurse at Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust Mandie Sunderland and NHS Supply Chain, is looking into saving trusts money by buying more cost-effectively and investing that money in nurses’ posts.
The idea is that nurses can make small savings in the products they use and purchase - without having an impact on quality. And in doing so, trusts can save thousands of pounds that will then be spent on additional nursing posts.
“let’s try and be positive for a moment”
Now the cynics would worry that the money would just be pocketed by the trust, or that even if they could fund new posts the recruitment shortage would mean nursing directors would still find it hard to fill the posts they’d managed to get into their budgets.
But let’s try and be positive for a moment. If you’ve ever moaned about the wasteful nature of the NHS, if you’ve ever wished you could have told your managers or board how to save a bit more cash or if you’ve ever just wanted to have a think about if it’s possible to do things differently - this is your opportunity.
“if you’ve ever just wanted to have a think about if it’s possible to do things differently - this is your opportunity”
Get your trust interested in this campaign when it launches next year, get everyone involved and try and rival local trusts. This is a chance for nursing to take control and have a say in how things are done, and get more nurses in the process. It’s a chance to say to your board that they can afford to have more of you - and dismiss any argument to the contrary. So use this opportunity to really make a difference.
Jenni Middleton, Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @nursingtimesed