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Acute FTs push back workforce reduction plans

  • 6 Comments

Acute foundation trusts are planning to increase staff numbers by more than 2,500 this financial year, latest figures show.

Experts said the figures indicated FTs were putting off staffing cuts for a year or two because improvements to community services were happening more slowly than expected.

Three-year plans from 80 acute FTs, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show they expect their total staffing to rise to 382,171 whole time equivalents this year, up from 379,595 at the end of 2011-12.

However, they then forecast falls to 375,773 in 2013-14, and 366,566 in 2014-15 – the final year of the government’s £20bn efficiency drive. Overall this represents a 3.4% reduction in the acute FT workforce over the three years.

The new staffing projections contrast with those in three-year plans for 2011, when acute FTs forecast steep reductions in workforce this year and next.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, said in 2011 acute FTs had planned to “reduce the size of their workforce as a result of demand being managed out of hospitals into community services”. But he added: “This transfer appears to be occurring significantly more slowly than anticipated.”

Royal College of Nursing head of policy Howard Catton said demand for acute care had continued to rise, while at the same time there was “little evidence” of widescale delivery of more services in the community. The community nursing workforce had “pretty much remained static” for the last few years, he added.

These factors, coupled with an increased focus on quality and safety, were likely to be “key” reasons for the planned increase in the acute FT workforce this year, he told Nursing Times.

These factors, coupled with an increased focus on quality and safety, were likely to be “key” reasons for the planned increase in the acute FT workforce this year, he told Nursing Times.

The figures follow evidence last month that some acute trusts were being forced to recruitment extra nurses to maintain safe levels of staffing. Nursing Times identified five such trusts in the Midlands, of which four were non FTs.   

However, the picture in mental health settings differs considerably. Mental health providers are forecasting the steepest workforce reductions of any part of the foundation trust sector, the FOI figures reveal.

The 41 mental health FTs are forecasting a loss of 10,670 WTE staff between 2011-12 and 2014-15, representing an overall reduction of 7.4% for the period.

Rebecca Cotton, acting deputy director of the Mental Health Network, said staffing comprised around 80% of mental health service costs, compared to 60% in the wider NHS. As a result, mental health trusts were “limited in terms of where they can make savings”, she said.

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  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • try telling that to rotherham general hospital who announced 750-1000 jobs to be cut by 2015

    bolton hospital..400 jobs

    norfolk mental health trust 500 jobs

    remember the nhs is ringfenced and wont be cut...mmm who said that...yep the lying tory party

    "I will cut the NHS not the deficit"

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 29-Oct-2012 10:13 am

    Exactly. I have come to realise that they mean the exact opposite of whatever they say. I think it's called LYING!

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  • michael stone

    'Experts said the figures indicated FTs were putting off staffing cuts for a year or two because improvements to community services were happening more slowly than expected.'

    More slowly than expected by whom ? Nobody appears to organise things as a joined-up whole, and it strikes me that if anything ever improves it is often by luck rather than judgement - obviously this 'planned reform' always required that you improve primary care services FIRST !

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  • How many wil be bean-counters or IT analysts

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  • tinkerbell

    Tip: you can always tell when they're lying, their lips are moving.

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  • Florence

    Two of my Friends took community nursing jobs about a year ago. In that time they has seen job cuts in Health visiting, Nurses , HCA'S and District Nursing sisters.
    Increasing community services to off-set the reduction in staff in acute hospitals?
    This is clearly not happening .
    So what is going on ?
    I agree with Tinkerbells comment. Also what Mike Stone said about things not being organised as a joined up whole. Indeed the management in my Trust just seem to do just that. All decisions are poorly communicated to staff. And there is little oppertunity to for change to be managed properly.

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