One of the hospital trusts visited last week by prime minister David Cameron to launch his new nursing forum has cut hundreds of nurse posts and plans to cut more, according to a Labour MP.
Salford Royal Foundation Trust has cut 200 nursing posts this year, and will cut the same number again over the coming two years, Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears told parliament yesterday.
Mr Cameron visited Salford Royal, along with Blackpool Victoria Hospital, last Friday, as part of the launch of his new Nursing Quality Forum, which is intended to tackle recently highlighted shortcomings in “dignity and respect” by initiatives to cut bureaucracy and increase the frequency of ward rounds.
Addressing health secretary Andrew Lansley, Ms Blears said: “When the secretary of state, together with the prime minister, visited Salford Royal hospital last week to praise the nurse leadership, was he aware that the hospital has cut 200 posts this year and is about to cut a further 200 posts over the next two years as a result of having to take 15 per cent out of its budget?
“Does he not agree that nurse leadership is important, but that we also need the nurses on the wards to be able to deliver effective patient care?,” she asked.
Mr Lansley replied: “Of course I had an opportunity to talk to the chief executive, the nursing director and others at Salford Royal, and I was tremendously impressed, as was the prime minister, by the quality and leadership of the nursing, which demonstrated what he was saying about nursing — that there is best practice inside the NHS, and we need to spread it.
“The right hon. Lady is confusing a cost-improvement programme with a cut. I think members on both sides of the house understand that the NHS is having to make efficiency savings, which involves shifting some resources from the acute sector and hospitals into the community,” he added.
10 January 2012