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RCN warns of 12% cut to qualified nursing workforce


Trusts plan to shed a “shocking” 12% of their registered nursing workforce over the next four years, a Royal College of Nursing investigation has found.

In a report published this week to coincide with the college’s annual congress, the RCN warns it has evidence that nearly 10,000 NHS posts in England will be axed by 2015.

The college said this represents just the “tip of the iceberg”, as managers seek to save £20bn from the health service budget.

It carried out a Freedom of Information Act request across a sample of 21 trusts, finding that they planned to cut a total of 9,650 posts, of which 4,429 were nursing positions – both qualified and unqualified. 

On average, 12% of qualified nursing posts will be lost from the trusts’ nursing workforce, the report says.

The RCN requested information from a range of organisations, including acute trusts, mental health trusts and community providers, from across the country – though a third were located in London.

The report is an update of the Frontline First Interim Report, which was published in November to support the college’s campaign of the same name.

The initial document – based on workforce reduction figures available at the time – claimed to have identified 26,841 NHS posts at risk in the UK, of which 17,932 were in England.

In the last few months, the RCN said some NHS trusts have started to provide specific and detailed breakdowns of cuts to their workforce numbers – and it is on these that the updated figures are based.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Cutting thousands of frontline doctors and nurses could have a catastrophic impact on patient safety and care. Our figures expose the myth that frontline staff and services are protected.”

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Readers' comments (14)

  • I think this is terrible, currently the NHS is more focussed on making cuts and saving money than it is on direct patient care. Nurses are already exceptionally busy and overworked, but play a vital role in patient care. This wont end well.

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  • Idiots. Who will they blame when patient mortality skyrockets?

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  • tory conmen "we will protect the nhs"
    what a load of bull****

    people will die as a result of these idiots
    and they are still pressing ahead with the change at a cost of 3 billion

    the quicker this govt, who were never voted in, go the better

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  • hey i got an idea how about we get rid of all the nurses and let management work on the wards/community

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  • Well I'm one of those in posts that are being cut I have been 'displaced' by my trust as in my team they have cut the amount of band 6CPN's in half I think I might be one of the lucky ones as I feel sorry for my colleauges having to do the same amount of work with half the amount of staff. How are they going to cope the patients are already feeling unsupported and angry at the developing situation. I'm sure it wont be long before the SUI's increase rapidly

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  • Well i have gone through ther process of redundency and know that it is propably very hard for those left behind but i now feel so sorry for patients.

    I am now enjoyinh redundency i pick up a little work to pay the bills only working 7 days a month is very nice.

    I do hope the managers will be able to multitask push papers and sort patients out but hey if needed they will get someone in to do a time and motion study!!!!

    NHS RIP and please could the unions have a redundency counsiling line as more and more of us are going to need it.

    Heres a throught with all this redundency payment the NHS and Trusts will go bust even quicker!!!!!!!!!

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  • In a year or two there won't be enough registered nurses, and anyone thinking of training will be thinking the better of it. The government will be on their knees begging those who were laid off to come back!! I hope I remain well during my life because there won't be many registered nurses left to help me if I'm not!

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  • Will the last one out please turn out the light.

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  • i agree with the above comment!

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  • the nhs is finished thanks to this govt they have only been in power less than a year and thousands of nurses are loosing their jobs

    hang your heads in shame everyone who voted in these idiots

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