The number of nurses working for the NHS is likely to fall by 12,000 by 2015, research has indicated.
An NHS Check report produced by Labour claims that care of the elderly is at risk, as the number of nursing positions in Britain continues to decrease. The report claims there are now 4,000 fewer nurses employed by the NHS since the coalition government came to power in May 2010.
And this figure is likely to rise to 12,000 leading to staffing issues in hospitals unless action is taken, the analysis claims.
Extra data released as a result of a Freedom of Information request shows 40%`of the positions that have been cut were mainly involved in caring for the elderly in both hospital and community settings. And 20% of the lost jobs were from maternity services, while another 20% were psychiatric nursing roles.
Robert Francis’ report of the problems at Stafford Hospital concluded that staffing levels in the NHS had to be protected to ensure good care for patients. He made recommendations of ways to ensure hospitals have the right level of nursing staff, and Labour called on the government to put these into practice as soon as possible.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said if nursing jobs continued to be cut at the same rate, the losses would reach 12,000 by the next general election in May 2015. He said he was particularly worried that care for older people would suffer as a large proportion of the jobs lost was in this area.
He added: “Ministers promised no cuts to the NHS front-line and, if they don’t step in to reverse this worrying trend, it will be very difficult to implement standard nurse-patient ratios as raised by the Francis Report.”