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Post cuts 'accelerating' in England, warns RCN


The rate at which NHS trusts in England are announcing cuts to nursing posts is “accelerating” while the rate has slowed in the rest of the UK, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Head of policy and international Howard Catton told the RCN Frontline First conference in London that the college’s estimate for nursing posts at risk in the UK had reached 36,000. In April the RCN had identified nearly 27,000 “at risk” posts in the UK, 18,000 of which were in England.

Although he said the figures needed more analysis, he said, “It looks as though across the UK, particularly in Wales and Scotland, the rate of job losses has slowed, but in England the pace is accelerating.

“There’s an argument that [nursing] is actually being targeted at a greater number than across the [NHS] workforce,” he said.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said the college had “busted” the myth that the NHS was not being cut by the government.

He said: “Compared to many other departments the NHS didn’t have the cuts, but the comparisons are odious… the NHS is being tasked to strip out billions of pounds.”

He said he did not believe that the number posts being cut could be taken out without a drop in the quality of nursing.

“They are not efficiency savings, they are inefficient savings. These savings will cost money… This will end up providing care on the cheap,” he said.

Mr Catton also warned of a “transition gap” in the provision of healthcare since there was “minimal evidence” that services being taken out of the acute sector were being moved to community settings.

He added that a transition plan was needed to ensure the workforce was prepared to provide care outside of hospital

He said: “If we move to a model that is about care closer to home then we may have a number of nurses in the wrong place. If we’re going to change the model of care we may need to change where they are working. But this means we need to support them to work in new roles, in new ways and new settings. You need to support them through a transition.”


Readers' comments (9)

  • Great observation skills being demonstrated by the RCN here, I just wonder when they will begin to show some leadership?

    How bad does it have to get before the RCN says 'no more' and ballot the members?

    This is on the day when Mr Lansley tells us that ''s a great day for patients ...' '..more choice...' (and I bet you cynics are thinking that Mr Lansley was announcing/burying further privatisation of the NHS on a day when it will be largely ignored by a media obsessed with the phone hacking scandal)

    Nursing Post cuts accelerating
    Poor working conditions
    2 year pay freeze
    Increments under threat
    Do more with less at higher quality
    Nurses on the front line begging for industrial action
    Appalling nurse to patient ratios bad does it have to be before we have some leadership?

    Or maybe we are not capable of that leadership - I'm not surprised we are the easy targets.

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  • at least the bankers are getting their bonus's again eh!!!

    we are all in this together apparantly-yeh right oh

    typical tories look after their rich stuck up mates and shaft the workers to pay for it

    the way the nhs is going-driven into the ground and privatised-will be exactly what thatcher wanted in the 80's

    i agree with the above comments by andrew "how bad does it have to get"!!!

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  • the whole management seems to be a totally disorganised shambles without any planning to provide continuous care to meet the health needs of the british population. why is there nobody taking command of the reforms so that they are carried out in an organised way without all this uncertainty of the welfare of patients and staff. how can the professional staff be expected to give their full concentration to their job of caring for the patients in this climate of chaos for which they always seem to be the centre of blame when things go wrong?

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  • This was surely the whole point of the 'banding' reduce the number of different pay scales give nurses a pay rise and then reduce the number of nurses.

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  • When there are so few nurses on the wards due to cut posts we will still be blamed for dehydration, pressure sores, not answering buzzers, delayed discharges etc etc the list goes on. Oh and we should still count ourselves lucky to have a job and a fantastic gold plated pension.

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  • And what is the RCN doing about it? Yes, you're right - absolutley nothing!

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  • remember the freeze increments for no job losses crap

    how true would this of been!!!

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  • The idea is to reduce the NHS workers so that the private sector can schmooz in and pick up the on the desparation to make it all better. That would be a private sector that historically are opposed to union membership, low pay and very poor terms and conditions (a little research of the big players is easy).
    Govt via the infamous White paper, is reneging on the promise and duty to provide a legal basic care level to everyone. What will happen is that the EU competition rules will kick in and wipe out any liberal intention to keep providers local or UK based.
    We WILL lose our NHS, envied by the world.
    This IS happening now.

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  • if the private sector takes over, will the nhs staff, who have a choice, stay and work for them if there are no changes or a deterioration in conditions?

    or if they are offering better services to patients and an improved employment package?

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